About The Mannequin Makers
The skin was smooth and bright as porcelain, but looked as if it would give to the touch. What manner of wood had he used? What tools to exact such detail? What paints, tints or stains to flush her with life?' So wonders the window dresser Colton Kemp when he sees the first mannequin of his new rival, a silent man the inhabitants of Marumaru simply call The Carpenter. Rocked by the sudden death of his wife in childbirth and left with twins to raise, Kemp hatches a dark and selfish plan to make his name and thwart his rival. What follows is a gothic tale of art and deception, strength and folly, love and transgression, which ranges from small-town New Zealand to the graving docks of the River Clyde in Scotland. Along the way we meet a Prussian strongman, a family of ship's carvers with a mysterious affliction, a septuagenarian surf lifesaver and a talking figurehead named Vengeance. Lives and stories will intertwine as fate takes its cruel trajectory, leaving you feeling as if waking from an unsettling dream.
My review of The Mannequin Makers
The Mannequin Makers is a story set in a bygone time, when family and survival were at the heart of everything. It's a narrative that spans generations, and countries. It's a haunting tale of love and power and the ties that bind. It's a story that you simply cannot put down, no matter how dark and unsettling it can be.
This is a highly creative book, as it blends genres to form a richly gothic, magical and other worldly book that simply hooks you in from the very dark beginning. Having said that, the characters and their actions are utterly believable. What's so clever about this book is that you can never be sure if you are reading reality or what the author wants you to believe is true, and you are left guessing until the end.
The book revolves around Colton Kemp, the mannequin maker. His story is complex and we follow his journey , both past and present, in New Zealand and Scotland. A chunk of the book is dedicated to his past and this answers many questions that are formed in the earlier part of the book.
I can't go into plot without giving anything away, as that would be a real shame. But, it is enough to say that Colton Kemp is an obsessive, and that he will go to any lengths to be the best and to survive. He is such an intriguing character, who I feel will stay with me for a very long time, as will this unique and quirky book.
With thanks to Melville House for the paperback copy for review purposes.
The Mannequin Makers is published by Melville House on June 6