The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu
(Vintage Contemporaries)

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Synopsis

Now an animated film titled Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart.

FIRSTLY: don’t touch the hands of your cuckoo-clock heart. SECONDLY: master your anger. THIRDLY: never, ever fall in love. For if you do, the hour hand will poke through your skin, your bones will shatter, and your heart will break once more.

Edinburgh, 1874. Born with a frozen heart, Jack is near death when his mother abandons him to the care of Dr. Madeleine—witch doctor, midwife, protector of orphans—who saves Jack by placing a cuckoo clock in his chest. And it is in her orphanage that Jack grows up among tear-filled flasks, eggs containing memories, and a man with a musical spine.

As Jack gets older, Dr. Madeleine warns him that his heart is too fragile for strong emotions: he must never, ever fall in love. And, of course, this is exactly what he does: on his tenth birthday and with head-over-heels abandon. The object of his ardor is Miss Acacia—a bespectacled young street performer with a soul-stirring voice. But now Jack’s life is doubly at risk—his heart is in danger and so is his safety after he injures the school bully in a fight for the affections of the beautiful singer.

Now begins a journey of escape and pursuit, from Edinburgh to Paris to Miss Acacia’s home in Andalusia. Mathias Malzieu’s The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart is a fantastical, wildly inventive tale of love and heartbreak—by turns poignant and funny—in which Jack finally learns the great joys, and ultimately the greater costs, of owning a fully formed heart.
 

About Mathias Malzieu

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Mathias Malzieu is the lead singer of the French band Dionysos. The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart is the basis for an album that Malzieu wrote, and he is codirector of an animated feature-film adaptation optioned by Luc Besson. This is his third novel and the first to be translated into English. Born in 1974 near Montpelier, Malzieu now lives in Paris.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published February 20, 2010 by Vintage. 193 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

Kirkus Reviews

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Jack escapes to Paris, where magician-clockmaker Georges Méliès tells him to forget the clockwork and follow his real heart.

Dec 15 2009 | Read Full Review of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock...

BC Books

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What if falling in love cost you your life? Would you be able to resist? The Boy with the Cuckoo-...Malzieu proves steampunk offers stories with a beating heart.

Jan 19 2012 | Read Full Review of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock...

BC Books

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Malzieu seamlessly integrates the elements of steampunk with literary fiction, allowing this novella to transcend the usually cursed designation of “genre fiction”.

Jan 19 2012 | Read Full Review of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock...

BC Books

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FOR IF YOU DO, THE HOUR HAND WILL POKE THROUGH YOUR SKIN, YOUR BONES WILL SHATTER, AND YOUR HEART WILL BREAK ONCE MORE.” Jack is tortured by the continual presence of his clock heart, which ticks and whirrs and cuckoos at the least convenient moment.

Jan 19 2012 | Read Full Review of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock...

New York Journal of Books

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Told in the first person by Little Jack, who believes that he cannot survive without the cuckoo clock that his adopted mother implanted in his chest right after his birth, we are privileged to follow his tentative footsteps from Scotland to France, as he searches for Miss Acacia, who captured his...

Mar 02 2010 | Read Full Review of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock...

SF Site

But when Little Jack emerges from the womb on this bleak and frigid day, something is terribly wrong: Jack has been born with a frozen heart.

| Read Full Review of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock...

Chron.com

Mathias Malzieu’s The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart is a whimsical fairy-tale of a book — for adults.

Mar 21 2010 | Read Full Review of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock...

Publishing Perspective

This is the coldest day on earth, and I’m getting ready to be born.” The Boy with a Cuckoo Heart Clock offers an unsatisfactory story packaged in beautiful and unusual prose.

Mar 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock...

Book Divas

When Jack was birthed into a midwife's home on a cold winter's day, his frozen heart was fitted with a cuckoo clock to keep it going.

Mar 02 2010 | Read Full Review of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock...

Reader Rating for The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
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