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MELVILLE HOUSE UK: THE MANNEQUIN MAKERS

**For sale only in the UK and its territories.**

“The skin was smooth and bright as porcelain, but looked as if it would give to the touch. What manner of wood had he used? What tools to exact such detail? What paints, tints or stains to flush her with life?”

So wonders the window dresser Colton Kemp when he sees the first mannequin of his new rival, a silent man the inhabitants of Marumaru simply call The Carpenter. Rocked by the sudden death of his wife in childbirth and left with twins to raise, Kemp hatches a dark and selfish plan to make his name and thwart his rival.

What follows is a gothic tale of art and deception, strength and folly, love and transgression, which ranges from small-town New Zealand to the graving docks of the River Clyde in Scotland. Along the way we meet a Prussian strongman, a family of ship’s carvers with a mysterious affliction, a septuagenarian surf lifesaver and a talking figurehead named Vengeance. Lives and stories will intertwine as fate takes its cruel trajectory, leaving you feeling as if waking from an unsettling dream.

Craig Cliff is the author of A Man Melting, a collection of short stories, which won the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. In 2012 he was a judge for the inaugural Commonwealth Story Prize, and he is the recipient of a Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago. He lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

”A story of dark obsession and family entanglements that will pull you in like a strong undertow.” —Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child

”Cliff flirts with fantasy and magical realism in an add but rewarding novel.” —The Times

”A book that makes grand promises and delivers… [The Mannequin Makers] takes flight in a way that comes close to magic realism, with the characters and events falling into a gothic swoon… such ambition, creativity and sheer energy.” —New York Times

”A strikingly vivid tale full of startling yet believable twists anchored by the compassionate portrayal of lives overrun with obsession and the drive for perfection. It is an original and gripping read, a rich book by an accomplished writer.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

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