Sunday, 9 September 2018

'Little Matrons'

The third story from Carly Holmes' collection Figurehead is a short but very effective tale of supposedly inanimate objects.

It took me a few moments to realise that the little matrons are literally that - nesting Russian dolls, or matryoshkas. Their lives are more eventful than you might think. And more tragic. The most casual events - children playing soldiers, a dog wagging its tail, someone needing a doorstop - conspire to wreck the happy family. While the tone is fairly light, I did feel pangs of sympathy for the victims of happenstance, especially the one who rolled under the bed and was forgotten.

It's as if Lovecraft had been forced (presumably at gunpoint) to write from a toy's perspective, with everyday human activity standing in for the machinations of the Great Old Ones. Well, it's like that a bit. Holmes' prose is much cleaner and more direct than the majority of weird fiction authors. As I said in my first entry on this book, she is a cool, observant author. She is also clever enough to invert the convention of the evil doll, and do it with great aplomb.

Dolls - treat them gently. They'll appreciate it.

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