In the mountainous city of Nevers, there lives a professor of literature called Q. He has a dull marriage and a lacklustre career, but also a scrumptious collection of antique dolls locked away in his cupboard. And soon Q lands his crowning acquisition: a music box ballerina named Aliss who tantalizingly springs to life. Guided by his mysterious friend Owlish and inspired by an inexplicably familiar painting, Q embarks on an all-consuming love affair with Aliss, oblivious to the sinister forces encroaching on his city and the protests spreading across the university that have left his classrooms all but empty. Thrumming with secrets and shape-shifting geographies, Dorothy Tse's extraordinary debut novel is a boldly inventive exploration of life under repressive conditions.
About the Author
Dorothy Tse is the author of several short story collections and has received the Hong Kong Book Prize, Hong Kong Biennial Award for Chinese Literature, and Taiwan's Unitas New Fiction Writers' Award. Her first book to appear in English, Snow and Shadow (translated by Nicky Harman), was longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award. She is the co-founder of the literary journal Fleurs des Lettres.