Very few Bizarro authors are better at worldbuilding than Carlton Mellick III. At each book, the godfather of Bizarro Fiction keeps on proving he’s still a powerhouse. And STACKING DOLL is no different.
The author says on the foreword that this is his current favorite book of his, and it’s understandable: Mellick is an author which gets technically better at each book he writes (I’m not saying that each book is necessarily better than the previous one, but I do think that he grows as a writer with each book, even though I still might prefer ADOLF IN WONDERLAND over CRAB TOWN, for example).
In STACKING DOLL we have a love story, done in typical Carlton Mellick III fashion: Weird as hell.
A man falls in love with a Russian nesting doll (a Matryoshka, if you’re feeling bilingual), and must endure her people’s wedding ritual in order to marry her.
As with most of Carlton’s books, the concept is fairly easy to grasp. High concept is the name of Mellick’s game.
There isn’t much more to say in terms of the synopsis, that’s it. But the development is really something else.
Mellick uses each of Ynaria’s (one of the protagonists) inner selves as a metaphor for the different aspects of an individual, and the discovery of these aspects during the course of a long relationship. In the book, the process is sped up, but the essence of what Carlton is trying to convey remains: People are multi-dimensional. And loving someone is accepting this fact.
As each new aspect is revealed, the more difficult it is for Benjamin to accept Ynaria in her entirety. He must confront his own expectations and preconceptions in order to make this marriage work. Will he succeed in doing so?
Well, you need to read to book to find out. And, as I’ve said, it is really good. Not my favorite CMCIII book, but a highly well-written Bizarro novella nonetheless.
If you’re a fan of Bizarro or plain weird fiction in general, you should give STACKING DOLL a try. And if this is your first Carlton Mellick III book, you have some serious catching up to do. But trust me, it’s worth it.