The Motion of Puppets, by Keith Donohue (audio)

motion-of-puppetsTheo and Kay Harper are newly married and spending the summer in Quebec when Kay goes missing. Theo frantically tries to find her, but Kay has been turned into a puppet, and while it’s possible for him to rescue her from that state, he would have to recognize and believe to do so.

This book is a conundrum for me. I honestly don’t know if I can say I liked or disliked it. The writing was fine, the premise was interesting, and I generally enjoy magical realism. Though my brain is not currently processing deeper layers of books, I could tell there were many currents here, symbols and metaphors and questions about existence. There was fascinating character development, the magic was worked in seamlessly, and the audio performance (Bronson Pinchot) was amazing.

At the same time, I spent the entire audiobook wanting to abandon the book without really knowing why. I kept thinking maybe it was just my reading mood, which has been turned toward far fluffier books, thrillers and romances and candy-books. There is too much real in my life right now to deal with, and reading is less about learning and growing these days than about escape. The Motion of Puppets was not an escape book. I kept wanting to abandon it, and at the same time knew that it was a good book that I should finish. Probably, I ought to have put it aside until my brain is in a different mental space. I would have done so, I think, if the audio had been just okay instead of great. Pinchot did a fantastic job of keeping me listening. Even after finishing – with a presently-unsatisfying ending because it wasn’t neat, tidy, or clear – I didn’t return the book to Audible. I have a feeling this is one I’ll want to go back to someday, the sort of book that nests in my brain and grows into something I love. A case of right book, wrong time.

ETA from Aug 2018: I was wrong. The further I got from this book, the less I liked it. In the end, I did return the audiobook about six months later, and I remember this as a well-written book where nothing happens, a book which was totally unsatisfying in every way.

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
This entry was posted in 2016, Adult, Prose and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Motion of Puppets, by Keith Donohue (audio)

  1. Michelle says:

    I posted my review of this yesterday as well. I personally was not a fan. Like you, I recognized that I was not grabbing onto the deeper sections, the obvious symbolism and thoughts about motion and existence but could not make myself care enough to even try. The entire books was just a big disappointment for me.


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