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21 November 2018

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Book Review

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Toby Barlow (FSG)

In this modern tale, all the vedmas and babayagas are forced to leave the Old Country. Many expire in the process of emigration, but two end up in Paris. The younger of them, beautiful Zoya, has a hard time, because her lovers keep discovering she doesn’t age and, well, she has this need to finish them off rather graphically.

And that’s only in the first few pages. Soon things really spin out of control. There’s a policeman flea, weaponized LSD, some dangerous seeming jazz musicians, shady spooks, and a rather hapless American expat ad man. In short, pretty much what you’d expect to find in 1959 Paris.

In all, Babayaga is a fun, well-written romp and something of a meditation – fairy-tale style – on love, life, death, and... how to get along with witches.

— Paul E. Richardson

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Reviewed in Russian Life: Nov/Dec 2013