Monday 4 January 2021

Book Review: Kokoschka's Doll by Alfonso Cruz (Contemporary Fiction)

Title: Kokoschka's Doll
Author: Alfonso Cruz
Publisher: Quercus Books
Publication Date: 21 January 2021 (2011)
Pages: 288
eBook - PDF
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

At the age of forty-two, Bonifaz Vogel begins to hear a voice.

But it doesn't belong to the mice or the woodworm, as he first imagines. Nor is it the voice of God, as he comes to believe. It belongs to young Isaac Dresner, who takes refuge in the cellar of Vogel's bird shop on the run from the soldier who shot his best friend. Soon Vogel comes to rely on it for advice: he cannot make a sale without first bending down to confer with the floorboards.

Thus begins the story of two Dresden families, fractured and displaced by the devastating bombing of the city 1945, their fates not only intertwined, but bound also to that of a life-sized doll commissioned by the artist Oskar Kokoschka in the image of his lost lover.

Based on a curious true story, Kokoschka's Doll is an imaginative and playful novel that transports the reader to Dresden, Paris, Lagos and Marrakesh, introducing them to an unforgettable cast of characters along the way.


Kokoschka's Doll was an intricate and twisting tale within a tale--perhaps sometimes too complexly woven for its own good. The opening of the story was interesting and caught my attention, but I did feel a little lost once or twice in the middle, before things settled down again in the final part. This is not a book that will appeal to everyone, but if you are keen to read something a little different and like the idea of a Russian doll-style narrative of layers within layers, Kokoschka's Doll is worth checking it. For me, it is still a four-star read, as despite my brief confusion in the middle of the piece, I found the book intriguing both stylistically and in terms of the plot, which did unravel itself by the end.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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