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Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780349703459

Price: £20

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‘Extraordinarily inventive, witty, moving and profound.’ Bernardine Evaristo

‘If you read one novel this year, let it be Top Doll. This is innovative, exquisitely crafted storytelling at its finest.’ Malika Booker

When reclusive billionaire Huguette Clark dies age 104, she leaves behind a suite of New York apartments, a meticulously upkept California mansion, at least one Monet and her vast collection of antique dolls. Having barely been outside for 50 years, the elusive Clark spoke to few–in this highly unreliable, semi-fictional miniature epic, the dolls tell all.

Theirs is a tale that takes us from their lavish Park Avenue home back in time to the slave plantations of Virginia and the palaces of Imperial Japan via the addictive hedonism of 1930s queer LA.

Joyfully irreverent, Top Doll is a story of love, betrayal, Barbies and ultimately, what it means to be human.

‘An astonishing combination of depth, compassion and beauty. A constant series of delicious surprises.’ Leone Ross


Praise for An Aviary of Small Birds:

‘Beautiful, painful, pitch-perfect . . . McCarthy Woolf’s tuning fork always rings true.’ Guardian

‘I loved Karen McCarthy Woolf’s technically perfect poems of winged heartbreak.’ Maggie Gee, The Observer

Praise for Seasonal Disturbances:

‘A strange and stunning collection from a true writer. Vulnerable, hilarious and wise.’ Warsan Shire

‘An unclassifiable book, revolutionary in its engagement with form, stunning in its intersectional politics, and an extraordinary achievement . . . It will break you, in a good way.’ Poetry School Books of the Year 2017


Wild, queer and unstoppably inventive . . . McCarthy Woolf possesses a rare, uncanny power in prose and lyric, staging a fantastic line-up of dolls with their personal baggage and societal wounds. This book is poignantly absurd and unsentimentally tender - a one-off.
An immersive, playful, multi-voiced time-travelling story . . . Both McCarthy Woolf's father and mine arrived in England from Jamaica on the same boat. This book extends our shared journey through the history of our lineages in ways that are beautiful, surprising, painful and yes, humorous. McCarthy Woolf has written a book that is truly worthy of the term "novel".
Raymond Antrobus
If you read one novel this year let it be Top Doll. This is innovative, exquisitely crafted storytelling at its finest.
Malika Booker
An astonishing combination of depth, compassion and beauty. A constant series of delicious surprises.
Leone Ross
Extraordinarily inventive, witty, moving and profound.
Bernardine Evaristo
By turns poetic, subversive and intensely absorbing, Top Doll is doing something unique and wildly imaginative within the form and structures of the novel. With Top Doll, Mccarthy Woolf firmly establishes herself as one of the most intellectually daring writers of our generation.
Mona Arshi
Karen McCarthy Woolf has invented a new species of novel - part prose, part poem, and part memoir. That it's almost all spoken by dolls is astonishing, but she's given each voice her full spectrum of powers as a poet; their voices are acerbic, hilarious, and deliciously alive! Every line is laced with wit, critiquing society and inequality. Top Doll is a virtuoso wonder.
Pascale Petit
A mad, mad, beautiful fiction début . . . The new perspective it gives on the human "flesh" world is its real genius. Poetic, peculiar, prophetic and revelatory - a work of art.
Nii Parkes, author of TAIL OF THE BLUE BIRD
Top Doll is a strange picaresque, with its main players all trapped in one New York apartment . . . I've not read anything quite like it.
The Sunday Telegraph, 4-star review
Undoubtedly smart, relentlessly irreverent and wryly humorous . . . pitch perfect
Sunday Business Post