3.44 (1,438 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 Paris 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 more

Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 234 x 234 x 156mm | 666g
  • Corvus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1782393331
  • 9781782393337
  • 229,157

Review quote

Spies and witches; sex and Kafka; boomtown Detroit and postwar Paris... Toby Barlow is a warlock. Babayaga is his potion. Drink up -- Robin Sloan Eye of newt and toe of frog, wit and heart and mordant social commentary: this dark, delicious brew from Toby Barlow has it all -- Hillary Jordan Tolkien meets Graham Greene meets Anne Rice * New York Magazine * Babayaga works magic to make 'the impossible possible'... Toby Barlow's adept combination of unexpected genres conjures a tale of witches, the CIA and a detective-turned-flea in 1950s Paris... Bewitching * Los Angeles Times * Delivers a helluva good time, a delicious mash-up of Cold War spy thriller, horror novel, and love story... It's witty and charming and exceedingly light on its feet... The novel is really something out of the ordinary * Booklist * Tremendous... As ambitious as any literary novel, because underneath all that fur, it's about identity, community, love, death, and all the things we want our books to be about -- Nick Hornby on SHARP TEETHshow more

About Toby Barlow

Toby Barlow is a writer who lives in downtown more

Rating details

1,438 ratings
3.44 out of 5 stars
5 15% (209)
4 36% (513)
3 34% (492)
2 11% (164)
1 4% (60)
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