When we think of the King family writing dynasty (Stephen, Owen, Joe Hill), perhaps there is one important family member we overlook; Tabitha, matriarch of the King clan.
Having been a life-long Stephen King fan, I thought it was about time I checked out some of Tabitha King’s work. Not only has she been credited over the years as her husband’s driving force (and of course, famously, the woman who retrieved ‘Carrie’ from the trash and persuaded King to keep writing), she is also honoured in the dedication of her son Joe Hill’s latest work, NOS4R2, as the ‘story queen’.
So, I decided to buy Small World, her first novel, and see what all the fuss was about.
Small World centres on pampered, dysfunctional life of socialite Dorothy ‘Dolly’ Hardesty Douglas, daughter of a former President and avid doll-house and miniature enthusiast.
In the midst of restoring her prize doll-house; a scale replica of the White House, Dolly is approached by a man named Roger Tinker, a former government worker who offers her a novel and fantastical way to deck out her doll-house with everything, and everyone, Dolly desires…
…thus ensues a tale of high-end monument theft, tangled family relations, and the strange, obsessive world of miniature hobby craft.
Tabitha King has created a world where we are invited to cast a critical eye over the foibles of the rich and famous; Small World is sexy, thrilling, grotesque and suspenseful.
Just like Dolly is obsessed with her doll-houses and miniatures, the reader finds themselves drawn into her superficial world of glamour and luxury. We can draw an obvious link between the ‘chaos’ of Dolly’s fish-bowl existence in high society and the perfection she craves, and demands, for her White House replica doll-house.
Dolly is controlling, manipulative and sly, but she is a villain whose exploits we read with a perverse glee.
I imagine Dolly as a kind of Alexis Colby figure, from Dynasty (anyone remember that show?!)
Anyway, I thought Small World was great; imaginative and witty. I recommend it.
I will definitely read Tabitha King again.