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Kokoschka's Doll

The amorphous and labyrinthine structure of Kokoschka’s Doll is certainly demanding. Portuguese polymath Afonso Cruz presents an array of parallel and tangential stories and themes that propel, then divert, and then re-establish the thrust of the novel’s narrative time and again. Ostensibly, this is the story of two Dresden families, spanning the twentieth century and two continents, but it is in fact more an exploration of ideas for which the characters are a cypher. The author’s intent is disguised in passages of fragmentary prose; constantly re-examining themes from different perspectives until the overlaying narration cleverly creates a clarity of vision. Perception is an obsession of this novel; Cruz offers the reader multiple ways of seeing events and people, questioning the truth of any one perspective.

Written by Afonso Cruz

Translated by Rahul Bery

Published by MacLehose Press in 2021

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