Living Dolls

In this web-only Paris Review interview, Mexican writer Ignacio Padilla says:

In London I ran into a wonderful book by a young writer, Gaby Wood — the daughter of the critic James Wood. It’s called Living Dolls, and it has very good research on automata and a chapter dedicated to Edison’s project for a talking toy. From that I picked up the idea of a woman who was a paradox, working twelve hours a day recording something meant to be sweet, motherly, and cute. I found it hard to believe someone working like that could be sweet or cute. The story is part of a collection of short stories on this same subject — women, dolls, and robots.

According to this TLS article James Wood “began his career, as he has continued it, precociously. He was appointed as the Guardian’s ‘Chief Literary Critic’ in 1991, when he was only twenty-six.” I’m terrible with math, but wouldn’t that make him about six years old back in 1971 when Gaby Wood, author of Living Dolls, was born? I’ll say he was precocious.

Whether or not she is related to the esteemed critic, Gaby Wood’s book, which seems to have two different titles, sounds intriguing.


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