The Motion of Puppets

A modern take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, The Motion of Puppets (2016) is a love story...with puppets. In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. Late one night, she slips inside the Quatre Mains and is transformed into a puppet. The only way she can return to the human world is if her husband Theo can find her. So begins the dual odyssey of The Motion of Puppets: of a husband determined to find his wife, and of a woman trapped in a magical world where her life is not her own.


REVIEWS

"Donohue shifts between the two worlds of the mundane and the magical so readily that the boundary between them begins to fade. Underneath all the changes, his story has the emotional depth, the love and grief of the old myth, only transposed to the sad, leaves-falling “October country” of the mind." -- Wall Street Journal

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"An engrossing novel of love, fancy and enchantment, The Motion of Puppets offers a perfectly wrought moodiness, detailed settings and an unsettling plot.  Smart, eerie and moving, this puppet show holds the potential to transport its reader to another world." -- Shelf Awareness Starred Review

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"Equal parts horror, love story, and tragedy, THE MOTION OF PUPPETS will make you think about what we’re really willing to do for love. And sometimes, if love is enough." -- Elitist Book Reviews

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"Donohue's unassuming yet self-assured prose describes the impossible so straightforwardly that we have no choice but to accept it.... Donohue offers readers many small but potent samples of the joys of performance, the shivery pleasures of an illicit dance.... At once old and new, borrowed and original, "The Motion of Puppets" disdains both genre and mainstream expectations to turn readers' attention to the permeable boundary between life and its mimicry." -- The Washington Post

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"Don’t kick yourself if you don’t slow down to mull over the thought-provoking subtleties, at least the first time through. Donohue — the real puppet master — deftly conceals the book’s many moving parts and tucks away its deeper themes, so that at first blush, it seems merely like a magically effortless and enchanting piece of storytelling. But don’t be surprised if you notice a twinge of existential dread begin to build after you’ve finished the last page." -- Richmond Times-Dispatch

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"A poetic, melancholy story." -- Charlotte News-Observer

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Donohue takes a familiar theme—the husband who must rescue the wife from hell—and makes it new again in, at times, Poe-like prose. It’s a perfect book for autumn evenings when the spirits are about." -- Lithub

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"...the only novel I know to have fulfilled Robert Aickman’s famous statement about great supernatural tales, that they are the fiction most closely approaching poetry. Keith Donohue (has crafted a perfect fable based on the mysterious attraction of the puppet theater. Building upon the archaic superstition that puppets have their own emotional lives, the author takes one more magnificent step and ties in the devastating myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Instead of descending to the Underworld, Kay Harper has been magically transformed into a puppet.  Every page of this novel hums with mythic power, pulling on every heartstring." -- Bookpage

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"An inventive and suspenseful story told from an original perspective, Donohue’s novel examines how refusing to embrace the present and struggling to escape unavoidable circumstances can alter one’s life forever." -- Publishers Weekly

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"Donohue’s masterpiece of psychological horror will change the way you look at puppets forever.  Intricately plotted, absorbing, and suspenseful, this is a moving, modern story set in what feels like a fairy-tale world but is actually terrifyingly realistic. It is a tale of true love and the beauty of the mechanics of motion all wrapped up in one awesomely creep-tastic package." -- Booklist Starred Review

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"Donohue writes a frightening account reminiscent of Grimm’s fairy tales and it will keep you up reading til dawn.” -- LibraryReads