Will is a young American ad executive in Paris. Except his agency is a front for the CIA. It's 1959 and the Cold War is going strong. But Will doesn't think he's a warrior-he's just a good-hearted Detroit ad guy who can't seem to figure out Parisian girls.
Zoya is a beautiful young woman wandering les boulevards, sad-eyed, and coming off a bad breakup. In fact, she impaled her ex on a spike. Zoya, it turns out, has been a beautiful young woman for hundreds of years; she and her far more traditionally witchy-looking companion, Elga, have been thriving unnoticed in the bloody froth of Europe's wars.
Inspector Vidot is a hardworking Paris police detective who cherishes quiet nights at home. But when he follows a lead from a grisly murder to the abode of an ugly old woman, he finds himself turned into a flea.
Oliver is a patrician, fun-loving American who has come to Paris to start a literary journal with the help of friends in D.C., who ask for a few favors in return. He's in well over his head, but it's nothing that a cocktail can't fix. Right?
Add a few chance encounters, a chorus of some more angry witches, a strung-out jazzman or two, a weaponized LSD program, and a cache of rifles buried in the Bois de Bologne - and that's a novel! But while Toby Barlow's Babayaga may start as just a joyful romp though the City of Light, it quickly grows into a daring, moving exploration of love, mortality, and responsibility.
©2013 Toby Barlow (P)2013 Tantor
"Sharp Teeth got some people's attention; with aggressive marketing and word of mouth, this one should put Barlow on the map. The novel is really something out of the ordinary." (Booklist)
Demolition D'bree of the Red Bank Roller Vixens
I "read" this for my book club with bn and it was a good read. I'm very glad that I purchased the audio book, otherwise this story could have gotten away from me. The story is winding in some places and the narrator did a weird whispery voice for Zoya, but the guy voices were really good and I was quite amused by the character of Brandon.
I least liked the "witches songs" as they confused me and I lost the thread of what was going on in the story through that bit, but they weren't overtly long and didn't ruin the story.
This is an entertaining story, an original mash-up of several genres, and especially fun for a listening experience.
It really is not much like anything else I've read.
It is not serious literature, and the characters are pretty thin, but it is very clever. Every time I thought I had it pegged, it shifted into a different kind of story- yet it hung together surprisingly well. It made for excellent commuting reading, keeping me amused, involved and diverted, without requiring deep thought. I recommend it highly, especially for this purpose!
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