The Manikin is not a mannequin, but the curious estate of Henry Craxton, Sr. in a rural western New York State. Dubbed the “Henry Ford of Natural History,” by 1917 Craxton has become America’s preeminent taxidermist. Into this magic box of a world-filled with eerily inanimate gibbons and bats, owls and peacocks, quetzals and crocodiles-wanders young Peg Griswood, daughter of Craxton’s newest housekeeper. Part coming-of-age story, part gothic mystery, and part exploration of the intimate embrace between art and life, Joanna Scott’s The Manikin is compulsively readable and beautifully written.
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