Owlish by Dorothy Tse

Owlish by Dorothy Tse

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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.


‘[A] surreal fantasy and the reading experience is demanding ... you might ask yourself if it's worth the effort. On reaching the end you will surely conclude that it is ... a very brave book.’ - The Times

‘In Owlish, nimbly translated by Natascha Bruce, there are several nods to Franz Kafka and Tse offers a powerful vision of government repression.... Tse combines the banal and the fantastic to terrific effect. Full of striking imagery,  Owlish is a vertiginous tale of a people sleepwalking into catastrophe.’— FInancial Times

‘Beguilingly eerie, richly textured, the pages of Owlish are drenched in strange beauty and menace. Like all the best fairy tales, it reveals the dark truths that we would rather not look at directly, and does so with a surreal and singular clarity.’
—  Sophie Mackintosh, author of Cursed Bread

Paperback with French flaps
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
ISBN: 978-1804270349
Pages: 224