The Man Who Danced with Dolls by Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams is a tiny book that packs a lot of punch. The story revolves largely around the narrator’s recollections of his odd intercontinental, multicultural childhood and the strained relationship between his parents. On a long, confusing adventure with his alienated mother, the narrator catches a brief glimpse of a busker dancing with a life-sized doll in a Metro station. The image stays with the boy for many years and serves, ultimately, as the metaphor that might allow the reader, if not the narrator, to understand the complicated relationships that constitute adulthood. To wit: In one way or another, we all have to make do with imaginary versions of the people we love.
This is the first book I’ve read from Madras Press, and I have to say that I’m highly impressed. The writing is beautiful, the subject matter significant, and the author’s attention to human nature impeccable. What’s more, the proceeds from all Madras books support causes that the authors care about. In this case, it’s the New Hanover Humane Society of Wilmington, North Carolina. A great book supporting a great cause — what more could you ask for? Madras Press and The Man Who Danced with Dolls are definitely worth checking out.