Yok

Overview

In Yok, Mollisan Town's seediest neighborhood, Fox Antonio Ortega, Erik Gecko, Mike Chimpanzee, and Vincent Hare are trapped by ignorance, poverty, mediocrity, and their own insecurities. Yet there is a glimmer of hope, a chance that they can overcome their desperate circumstances and gain the freedom to achieve their dreams. The handsome fox yearns for true love; the gecko seeks redemption and freedom from his abusive brothers; the chimpanzee burns for success; and the hare seeks the secret to a meaningful life....

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Yok

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Overview

In Yok, Mollisan Town's seediest neighborhood, Fox Antonio Ortega, Erik Gecko, Mike Chimpanzee, and Vincent Hare are trapped by ignorance, poverty, mediocrity, and their own insecurities. Yet there is a glimmer of hope, a chance that they can overcome their desperate circumstances and gain the freedom to achieve their dreams. The handsome fox yearns for true love; the gecko seeks redemption and freedom from his abusive brothers; the chimpanzee burns for success; and the hare seeks the secret to a meaningful life. But when they get close to their desires, will happiness slip out of reach, or can they find the power to grab what they want?

Mollisan Town is unlike any world ever created in literature. Within its colorful streets dwell the desires, dark sides, hopes, and expectations of its plush inhabitants. From romance to ambition, jealousy to despair, the stuffed animals of Yok must grapple with the most human of emotions. The tension mounts within these four gripping tales, and each character's journey leads to a truth that reveals something about the animals of this alternate world—and about ourselves.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fabulist Davys concludes the Mollisan Town quartet that began with 2007’s Amberville with four long stories that reflect familiar fairy tales or fables as seen through the fun-house prism of the author’s imagination. Mollisan Town, a place with all the faults and divisions of a modern city, is inhabited solely by living stuffed animals that have the same strivings as humans. In “Sors,” Dragon Aguado Molina gives Fox Antonio Ortega, handsome but not very bright, three nearly impossible tasks he must perform to win the hand of his daughter, Beatrice Cockatoo. In “Pertiny,” Eric Gecko lives a life of drudgery and abuse supporting his older brothers, Leopold Leopard and Rasmus Panther, until he unexpectedly gets a chance to win the prize they covet the most. In “Corbod,” Mike Chimpanzee finds rock and roll fame and fortune fleeting, yet when he uncorks a genie, he finds it impossible to formulate three wishes. In “Mindie,” Vincent Hare seeks the meaning of life and has a race with Diego Tortoise. Davys imbues his stuffed animal world with a dark edge that eschews happily ever after endings. Agent: Susanna Einstein, Einstein Thompson. (Aug.)
Boston Globe
Yok feels both clever and genuinely moving... A delicious read.”
Boston Globe
"Yok feels both clever and genuinely moving... A delicious read."
Library Journal
The fourth book in the "Mollisan Town Quartet" (after Amberville, Lanceheim, and Torquai), this entry is made up of four stories set in the area named Yok. Each story offers a singular reading experience, delving into a different aspect of the conundrum called life. Fox Antonio Ortega is ruined by love, Erik Gecko runs away from success, rock star Mike Chimpanzee is imprisoned by freedom, and Vincent Hare is crushed by ambition. The writing is exquisite. These characters are all literal stuffed animals, though they are otherwise human in every other way, having all the normal human functions. This absurdist reverse anthropomorphism creates a weird sense of real unreality that is quite compelling. These stuffed animals are people stuck in fabric bodies. They are just like us but not. They can die at any time, either by accident or when the enigmatic "Chauffeurs" come to take them away. VERDICT An intense tragicomic examination of the problems of living: Watership Down meets Rabbit, Run. Highly recommended.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos P.L., CA
Kirkus Reviews
From the mysterious Swede behind the pseudonym Davys, a lively fourth book of sophisticated Aesopian fables set in a city much like those of the modern West, except for the fact that it's populated by walking, talking stuffed animals. Like its predecessors, the final volume of the Mollisan Town quartet (it began in 2007 with Amberville, followed by Lanceheim and Tourquai) is set in a specific district, in this case the seedy, down-at-the-heels Yok. The book consists of four long stories. In "Sors," the brutish restaurateur/racketeer Dragon Aguado Molina throws barriers in the way of the dashing but dim Fox Antonio Ortega, who, hopelessly smitten, seeks the hand of the dragon's daughter, Beatrice Cockatoo. In "Pertiny," long-suffering Erik Gecko, brewery worker and abused younger brother, tries to help his siblings and tormentors, Leopold Leopard and Rasmus Panther, chase their dream of TV-newsreader stardom--and gropes toward finding a way out for himself. "Corbod" features a dissatisfied rock guitarist, Mike Chimpanzee, and a genie who enjoins him to come up with three wishes. While Mike struggles to come up with suitably nonmaterialistic items, the two ("Cloud" and "Mr. Rock Star Ape," as they refer to each other) bicker. The entertaining "Mindie," told in overlapping documents and testimonies, features Vincent Hare, a brooding self-styled philosopher who's achingly aware that time is always slipping away: "I'm in a bit of a hurry," he says again and again. Davys makes ingenious use both of traditional folktales and of his conceit, and the book is charming, but at times it does feel a bit like a grab bag. An intriguing mix of fable, philosophy and witty fun.
The Barnes & Noble Review

Welcome to Mollisan Town, a burg like many another literary venue, full of citizens rich and poor, honest and criminal, loving and mean, where odd and exotic events occur with life-changing regularity. You'd recognize the commingled noir and magic-realist lineaments of the place from books by Jorge Amado and Jeff VanderMeer, from movies like Chinatown and Pan's Labyrinth. Except for one thing. The inhabitants of Mollisan Town are animate stuffed animals. Yes, creatures of cloth and wool batting, fur and buttons, fabricated in factories before being delivered to their designated natal homes, who nonetheless manage paradoxically to eat and breathe, feel, and die.

Lucky readers have encountered Mollisan town and its Steiff-like citizenry in three previous novels: Amberville, Lanceheim, and Tourquai, each book named after a neighborhood of Mollisan Town, as is this latest, Yok. (I'm coming to this playground for the first time.) Their creator, Tim Davys, is someone hiding behind a pen name, ostensibly a writer of Swedish origins. I'll make a wild speculation about Davys's real identity at the end of this piece.

Yok is the poorest, slummiest district of Mollisan Town, and Davys decides to present the broad spectrum of life there via four stand-alone tales, each one bearing a Yokkian neighborhood's name. In "Sors," a fox named Antonio Ortega — a kind of lovable Zoolander airhead, famed more for beauty than brains — falls in love with Beatrice Cockatoo, daughter of mob boss Dragon Aguado Molina. The price for daring to love her proves nearly fatal. "Pertiny" is a pure Cinderella tale, concerning Eric Gecko, whose two brothers, Leopold Leopard and Rasmus Panther, often keep him chained in the basement while they preen themselves for a TV-show contest. Mike Chimpanzee is the protagonist of the slight but still enjoyable tale "Corbod." A creatively anguished rock star, Mike has to endure the interminable wedding plans of his high-class girlfriend, Cocker Spaniel Rozenblatt, the machinations of his manager, and the begrudging ministrations of an accidentally unleashed genie from an ink bottle. Finally, in the longest and most fraught venture, "Mindie," which reads like The Great Gatsby as co-authored by Albert Camus and John Barth, Vincent Hare undergoes a senses-deranging existential quest to unravel the meaning of life for himself and all stuffed animals, but ultimately bumps up against the limits of all living.

Many of the pleasures of Yok inhere in the shifting dynamics between how Davys presents the stuffed animal nature of the characters and how he describes their "person- like" activities. There is a curious and teasing multivalency to their natures. On the one hand, for instance, Vincent Hare "was a light yellow stuffed animal with a crocheted nose. The inside of his long ears was covered with warm pink silk." And of course every good Mollisanian household possesses a "drying cabinet" for restoring dampened fabric skin.

On the other hand, Mike Chimpanzee is subject to his mother, Ilja Crocodile, "holding his head pressed against her voluminous bosom. She had on her tall hat and her thick, dark red coat, with fur trim?. She reeked of perfume." So at times the book reads like any well-done animal allegory, while at other times the reader is swept up in the naturalistic surface narrative. Occasionally, the two levels fuse, as when Vincent makes love to Maria Goat: "The fan exposed fabric that had never before been exposed. It turned her coat to one side and revealed her seams. She moaned again." It all reminds me of a curious forgotten novel I love, Christopher Morley's Where the Blue Begins, about a canine adventurer in a similar shifting venue.

Of course, Yok will also summon up a thousand other associations for readers who have enjoyed this sort of tale before. Tony Millionaire's Sock Monkey graphic novels come to mind. Sometimes one fancies that Brian Jacques of Redwall fame has dipped his pen in. The intersection of toon and human in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? seems highly relevant. And no discussion of Yok's antecedents would be complete without a nod to the Bear of Very Little Brain, Winnie the Pooh.

But the predecessor I am most reminded of is Walter Moers, with such novels as Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures. The same mix of whimsy and black humor, anthropomorphism and feralness. The same overstuffed narratives full of weird occurrences. Could Moers, who has been relatively quiet of late, be hiding behind the Tim Davys byline? Even if Davys is not Moers, these books deserve to share the same privileged shelf space.

Author of several acclaimed novels and story collections, including Fractal Paisleys, Little Doors, and Neutrino Drag, Paul Di Filippo was nominated for a Sturgeon Award, a Hugo Award, and a World Fantasy Award — all in a single year. William Gibson has called his work "spooky, haunting, and hilarious." His reviews have appeared in The Washington Post, Science Fiction Weekly, Asimov's Magazine, andThe San Francisco Chronicle.

Reviewer: Paul Di Filippo

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061797477
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Davys is a pseudonym. He is the author of Amberville, Lanceheim, and Tourquai, the first three books in the Mollisan Town quartet. He lives in Sweden.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    (:

    r the tim davys books aproperiate for kids ages 12-& up.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

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    Im not buying this because it is too expensive

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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