Kirkus Review of Jackdaw and the Doll

Excerpts from Kirkus’s just released review of The Jackdaw and the Doll.

“Kafka becomes a winged storyteller in this picture book’s loose, biographical fable. K leaves his family just as his illness gets worse. In a summary of his life, readers learn that for years his “night-flights,” hidden from his strict father, have enabled him to spread visible, feathery wings as a storyteller even as he works as a clerk by day. K is stalked by The Shroud, rendered as a formless, dripping dark hand, which has pursued him since childhood and manifests, K thinks, as the sickness taking over his lungs. In a vivid image, K hides from the hand beneath a bright yellow umbrella. But relief from this dread is possible through two figures—Dora, who, holding hands with K as a bird, flies to a new city, and Frieda, a small girl whose lost doll becomes the focus of K’s mythical, last, long-term literary effort. Best for young readers with a taste for the gothic, Yokoyama’s graphite illustrations with flashes of yellow show a White cast. They fashion an understated, symbolic elegy for a famous literary voice … Poetic descriptions of Kafka’s storytelling deftly capture the relationship between existential terror and creative production … Accomplished, graceful mythmaking for children who intuit artistic inspiration’s dark side.” — KIRKUS REVIEWS

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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