My review will follow the publisher’s blurb :

Short stories from an unholy marriage of Angela Carter, Sheila Heti, and H. P. Lovecraft.
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 simultaneously childlike and naïve, grotesque and very dark.


First things first, this is my first ever review of a collection of short stories. And what a sublime collection this is. I’m just going to throw out a few words that I connect with The Doll’s Alphabet and try to stitch together my thoughts afterwards.

Unusual, dizzying, strange, surreal, creepy, absurd, sexual, macabre, destabilizing. Got your attention?

After reading the first few stories, I wondered if they were all going to be along the same vein and, sure enough, they were. One dizzying, peculiar tale after the next. At first, I kept on reading out of sheer curiosity, wondering how deep and dark these stories would get. Then, I just wanted more. Camilla Grudova’s imagination is at times terrifyingly grotesque and I felt like a voyeur, entering her private cabinet of curiosities. I’ve never read anything quite like The Doll’s Alphabet before -ever.

There are many recurring objects throughout The Doll’s Alphabet; sewing machines, doll parts, vermin and also some disturbing sexual acts. There is definitely a sense of loneliness to this collection mixed in with an abundance of what I can only explain as griminess yet it radiated something very feminine and delicate.

As I’d read one story, I’d think… did she just write that ? How did she even think that up ? Each story took me to a beautiful yet horrible place. I get that this is quite a niche type of book, and won’t fit everyone’s taste but I’m so glad I discovered Camilla Grudova’s writing. I’ve re-read my favorite stories within The Doll’s Alphabet many times, unearthing new and curious things with each new reading.

The Doll’s Alphabet by Camilla Grudova
Published by Coach House Books
160 pages
ISBN : 9781552453582
Available now

An e-galley of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts and review

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