If you’re looking to add some spooky stories to your Halloween reading list, you don’t need to look any further than Keith Donohue’s The Motion of Puppets, a Gothic spin on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. With comparisons to Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and Neverwhere with a touch of 2014’s The Babadook, of course the novel is part of our October “Best Books of the Halloween Season” series.
Young Kay Harper, a newly wedded acrobat, is our contemporary Eurydice, waking to find herself transformed into a puppet and trapped inside a toy shop in Quebec. Our story’s Orpheus, Kay’s husband, Theo, obsessively searches the streets of Quebec for his missing wife, all the while under police suspicion for her disappearance.
Donohue is also the author of The Stolen Child and The Boy Who Drew Monsters, which has been optioned by James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring). His latest, The Motion of Puppets, published by Picador, is available now from Amazon.
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. She is spending her summer working as an acrobat with the cirque while her husband, Theo, is translating a biography of the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Late one night Kay fears someone is following her home. Surprised to see that the lights of the toy shop are on and the door is open, she takes shelter inside.
The next morning Theo wakes up to discover his wife is missing. Under police suspicion and frantic at her disappearance, he obsessively searches the streets of the Old City. Meanwhile, Kay has been transformed into a puppet and is now a prisoner of the back room of the Quatre Mains, trapped with an odd assemblage of puppets from all over the world who can only come alive between the hours of midnight and dawn. The only way she can return to the human world is if Theo can find her and recognize her in her new form. So begins the dual odyssey of Keith Donohue’s 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.