Eric Bear’s perfect life is threatened when crime boss Nicholas Dove comes by to call in a favor. He’s rumored to be on the stuffed animal Death List (which may or may not exist) and he wants Eric to find a way to take him off… or else…
Early on, as I struggled to make sense of the Amberville world, I wondered if perhaps the whole story was in the mind of some twisted human child who owned tons of stuffed animals and was moving them around, “playing” as kids are known to do. Physically, the stuffed animals always stay the same shape - they just fray around the edges as they “age” - which made me think of our world’s rules. But then, they apparently eat, write novels, gamble, and engage in all kinds of everyday activities that would seem to indicate that they are really living, breathing creations.
Well – there is one main thing they can’t do besides change shape, and that is procreate. When the stuffed animals want to have children, they apply for a place on the Cub List, and one lucky day, a green truck delivers a bundle of joy. Correspondingly, a red truck comes when a stuffed animal's time in Amberville is over. Are the two related? Who writes the lists? Is it possible to change the lists? Why are there lists anyway? Why can’t stuffed animals just live forever? These are the questions Eric and the novel ask over the course of the both twisty and surprisingly philosophical narrative.
Although there are some passages that seem rather pointless at the time you read them, they eventually pay off in a clever fashion. So if you’re a moderately patient reader with a penchant for the bizzare (and don’t mind a sometimes clunky translation - the original is in Swedish), you should get a kick out of AMBERVILLE.
AMBERVILLE is available in hardcover now. Find out more about it (and watch a trailer) at its official website.