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.
From the Hardcover edition.
Jack, the young protagonist of French writer and rock star Mathias Malzieu's first novel to be translated into English, is part Pinocchio and part Oliver Twist. Born with a frozen heart, Jack was miraculously saved by the crafty Dr. Madeline, who implanted a cuckoo clock in his chest. Unfortunately, Jack's synthetic ticker comes with several restrictions, which forbid him from losing his temper or falling in love. Jack wastes no time in violating the latter rule, and soon sets off on a journey through 19th-century Europe to find his beloved, a street performer named Miss Acacia. However, Jack's search is haunted by his knowledge that the successful completion of his quest may cause his man-made heart to blow a gasket.
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