Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"Early one morning at the end of April there was a pounding on the door to Eric Bear and Emma Rabbit's apartment on brick-red Uxbridge Street."

It's always exciting to discover a new-in-translation author, enjoy your first reading of one of their novels and then find that you have a small stack of their work ahead of you.  The novels of Tim Davys (a pseudonym for a mysterious Swedish author) appear to have only been translated in the last year but now we have three books in this loose series to enjoy.  I just finished the first, Amberville, and can't wait to move on to the others!

Amberville is one of the four districts of Mollisan Town, an isolated place of colorful buildings and streets that is populated by stuffed animals.  Yes, you read that right -- stuffed animals.  Everyone in the town is a walking, talking animal with cotton for guts.  They have religion, organized crime, business and art.  The main character is Eric Bear, an advertising executive (and a teddy bear) who has a somewhat seedy past.  He is approached by mobster Nicholas Dove who has a proposition for him.  If Eric is unsuccessful, Dove will have his wife, Emma Rabbit, killed.  So he gathers together some other animals he used to work with--a crow, a snake and a gazelle--to help him in the task.  They must journey through all of the districts of the town and even some of the fringes looking for something that may not even exist.

I've seen this series compared to Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crime series but, based on this first novel, I don't really see anything in common between the two besides a gritty representation of things that are normally children's topics.  Fforde's books are based on existing literary characters and imagining their little quirks and foibles and, while dealing with crime, are on the lighter side.  Davys' city and characters are completely new and much darker, participating in sado-masochistic relations, drink, drugs, torture and more.  This is a crime novel in a fantasy setting.  I wasn't sure I would enjoy it once I got a sense of the tone but, in fact, I got caught up in the story and had a good time with this book.  The second in the series, Lanceheim, is out in translation already and the third, Tourquai, will be released next month.  They are all set in Mollisan Town but feature entirely different characters.  I will be interested to see if they are the same type of stories or not.

Closing the lid on the toy box,

Support our site and buy Amberville on Amazon or find it at your local library.  We received a copy for review from the publisher.


  1. This looks very interesting! I may have to add it to my wish list to check out!

  2. This. Sounds. Amazing. Thank you for reviewing it, because I hadn't heard of it before! I just put it on hold at the library.

  3. Tif - I think you would probably like this one since you like the weirdness and also the darkness.

    Cass - I hope you enjoy it! I hadn't heard of it either. It's a hidden gem!

  4. LOL! I do like weird and dark!! :)