From the critically acclaimed author of The Mysteries comes a haunting, lyrical, and provocative novel of a young woman’s coming-of-age betwixt dream and reality. Here there’s only one thing more dangerous than desire—getting what you want. . . .
As a child, Agnes Grey dreamed of the perfect friend to ease her loneliness: a doll that would talk to her, tell her stories, share her secrets. Only her aunt Marjorie seemed to really understand. Something of an outcast herself, she told Agnes she’ d had just such a doll when she was a child. She called it her pillow friend. So when Agnes receives her very own pillow friend—an old-fashioned porcelain doll painted to look like an old-world gentleman—she’s certain her dreams have come true. And so they have—but in ways that Agnes could never have imagined. For as the line between fantasy and reality blurs, Agnes discovers that every dream has its price and every desire must be paid for. Be very careful what you wish for . . . he’ll surely give it to you.
It's no wonder the publisher, which specializes in gaming books that have a large adolescent readership, has printed a warning on the galley of Tuttle's new novel: "Because of the mature nature of themes presented within, reader discretion is advised." Tuttle, who displayed her grasp of the macabre in such earlier novels as Familiar Spirit and Gabriel, puts a new, sexually explicit and extremely dark spin on fantasy regarding desire in this apparently semi-autobiographical ode to the power of a writer's imagination. Agnes Grey, a young girl growing up in country-club, middle-class Houston of the early 1960s, escapes a profound loneliness caused by her mother's depression and her father's indifference by journeying into wishful states and imagined realms. Her mother's twin, Aunt Marjorie, "wildly unpredictable" and "deeply mysterious in her comings and goings," teaches Agnes about the transformative power of wishes: "It's very easy to be happy. You can have whatever you wish for--as long as you take the consequences." The consequences for Agnes include a pint-sized, old-fashioned gentleman doll--a "pillow friend" who becomes much more; Snowy, the white stallion with whom she achieves her "womanhood"; and a high-school crush who becomes a passionate lover under the veil of night. Later, the poet of Agnes's dreams, an Englishman about whom she's published a story, whisks her off to England to serve as his devoted muse and wife. But her beloved pillow friend reinvades her life; when Agnes realizes she's being manipulated by him, she consumes him barbarically. He manages to impregnate her in the process, however, and the birthing scene proves a chilling climax to Tuttle's grim yet evocative tale.