‘Agata’s Machine’ by Camilla Grudova

Transgressive, unboundaried female sexuality colours and textures everything about this story, so it feels like a kind of second cousin, though decades removed, to The Doll. It also recalls that horrible D H Lawrence story ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’ so strongly that I wouldn’t be surprised if Grudova said this was a modern retelling, or more likely, a rebuff. It comes from a superb, dense collection published by Fitzcarraldo Editions, The Doll’s Alphabet, which name I take as further proof of du Maurier’s ghost looking over Grudova’s shoulder.

First published online in The White Review here. Collected in The Doll’s Alphabet, Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2017