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Paris in the late '50's, the CIA, a flea whose wife is sleeping with some Italian guy...Oh, also ancient Russian witches. What's not to like? Always incisive, Toby Barlow's the one who gave us Sharp Teeth.— From Jason's Picks
“Moving from ancient Russia to the dawn of the New World, stretching into an endless future, but mainly rushing madly around postwar Paris, Babayaga covers a lot of ground. Vengeful witches hunt, charm, and wage battle. Evil scientists hatch sinister plans. A dashing spy runs a crew of outcast mercenaries. A good-hearted police inspector stays on his case, even in the form of a flea! And hapless Will, ad man/CIA informant, is caught in the whirlwind, which just might be the best thing that's ever happened to him. Babayaga crackles with an electric energy driven by its hilariously inventive plot, clever prose, and outrageously eccentric cast of characters.”
— Sara Hinckley, Hudson Booksellers, Marietta, GA
By the author of "Sharp Teeth," a novel of love, spies, and witches in 1950s Paris and a cop turned into a flea
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, 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 France to start a literary journal with the help of friends in D.C. who ask 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.