Dolls, sewing machines, tinned foods, mirrors, malfunctioning bodies – by constantly reinventing ways to engage with her obsessions and motifs, Camilla Grudova has built a universe that's highly imaginative, incredibly original, and absolutely discomfiting. The stories in The Doll's Alphabet are by turns childlike and naive, grotesque and very dark, the marriage of Margaret Atwood and Angela Carter.
Camilla Grudova lives in Toronto. She holds a degree in Art History and German from McGill University, Montreal. Her fiction has appeared in The White Review and Granta.
'If fairytales could dream, this nightmarish collection is what you might end up with … Grudova very efficiently spins us into her weird web.'
– Times Literary Supplement
'A canny collage artist with an eye for the comically macabre, Grudova scavenges her images from Victorian and Edwardian aesthetics. Against this background, her ironies and insights about the inequalities in relationships between men and women feel startlingly current.'
– Publishers Weekly
'The effect of the absurd, unnatural, cruel, and unfair social rules in these stories is to cast light on how absurd, unnatural, cruel, and unfair the rules of contemporary society can be.'
'Grudova does mermaids and magic, but she also does moldy, dingy, scratch-and-sniff interiors that reek of cabbage and old shoes … Grudova’s descriptions are crooked and revelatory.'
– Harper’s Magazine
‘That I cannot say what all these stories are about is a testament to their worth. They have been haunting me for days now. They have their own, highly distinct flavour, and the inevitability of uncomfortable dreams.’
‘Grudova's style is an exotic cocktail: three parts magic realism, two parts dystopian, and a splash of extreme feminism. However, there is a playful intelligence driving these weird stories and a real talent that can't be dismissed – even when she seems most eccentric.’
– Daily Mail
‘Grudova's prose is both elegant and nonchalant, offering horrific imagery as if nothing were untoward, and a feminist subtext colours almost every story.'
– Buzz Mag
‘This doll's eye view is a total delight and surveys a world awash with shadowy wit and exquisite collisions of beauty and the grotesque.’
– Helen Oyeyemi, author of Boy, Snow, Bird
‘Down to its most particular details, The Doll's Alphabet creates an individual world – a landscape I have never encountered before, which now feels like it was been waiting to be captured, and waiting to captivate, all along.’
– Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?
‘Marvellous. Grudova understands that the best writing has to pull off the hardest aesthetic trick – it has to be both memorable and fleeting.’
– Deborah Levy, author of Hot Milk