Quercus' imprint riverrun has acquired its literary lead for the year, The Dollmaker by Nina Allan, described as a story "about lives lived in the margins, and a love story about becoming real".
Publisher Jon Riley bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Anna Webber at United Agents to publish in March 2019.
Not to be confused with The Doll Factory, which is Picador's lead debut fiction launch for 2019, The Dollmaker has been described as "a novel of wonders and opposites [that] perfectly balances darkness and hope, the uncanny and everyday, the longed-for and the real". The plot takes off when dollmaker Andrew Garvie decides to answer an enigmatic advert in a collectors’ magazine.
Striking up a correspondence and falling in love with the mysterious Bramber Winters, the novel subsequently follows Andrew as he journeys across the south-west to meet her. But Andrew’s journey is undertaken with some trepidation; he has not told Bramber about his visit or that he has dwarfism. Punctuating his journey are the darkly charming letters he receives from Bramber and the seductive, eldritch fairy tales of Ewa Chaplin, which pluck at the edges of reality and begin to mirror the characters’ lives.
Riley, publisher of riverrun, called it "thrillingly original storytelling".
"Nina Allan’s sublime novel shows the imagined and the desired becoming real," he said. "It is quite thrillingly original storytelling which embraces the light and the dark, loneliness and love, beauty and terror. It moved and exhilarated me."
Its author, Allan, was named as one of the Guardian’s Fresh Voices of 2018. She commented: "riverrun are innovative and radical publishers with an incredible roster of authors and I’m thrilled to be working with them. Jon Riley and the rest of the team have been fantastically supportive right from the start. Their professional insight and pure love for the book are everything a writer could hope for and I honestly can’t think of a better home for The Dollmaker. I am looking forward very much to sharing the novel with the world early next year."
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