A story inspired by the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful. This version, however, takes place in Brooklyn, with talking wooden dolls, a witch’s curse and people partying on rooftops at sunset.
In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.
But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…
It’s a story full of bizarre dreams, walking hands (yeah, just the hands), witches setting impossible tasks and an absent father who is now a German Shepherd. It’s also a dark, gory, magical tale full of beautiful imagery and just the right amount of snark.
This book is magical realism meets “fairytale-weirdness” at its finest! Elements of this story reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. If you can handle some weird you will find some beautifully written prose in this story.