El's Reviews > Baba Yaga Laid an Egg

Baba Yaga Laid an Egg by Dubravka Ugrešić
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's review
Jun 18, 2011

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bookshelves: 21st-centurylit, cultural-studies-and-other, eastern-central-european-lit
Read from June 15 to 17, 2011

Baba Yaga has been an interest of mine for a long time, since my first experience of her was in a video game I played the hell out of in my younger years:

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I didn't even know at the time that Baba Yaga was a real component from mythology. I just thought the game was cool. But then her story kept popping up over the years, most recently in my boyfriend's interest which has encouraged him to put her in some of his art eventually. We talk an awful lot about Baba Yaga. It's sort of strange if I think about it. Is this the sort of thing normal people talk about in their relationships?

I was looking forward to reading this book for the longest time because of my interest in Slavic mythology, and also because I read another book by the same author, The Ministry of Pain: A Novel - a book I actually remember little about but it's stayed in my mind because the author's name is so awesome. I gave a little cheer when I found this at the library; I had almost put it out of my mind entirely.

So this book is part of the same publishing house that put out Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus. Their goal is to publish works by contemporary authors who put a modern twist on an original myth. Already one knows that the story will be about Baba Yaga in some way. How it all came about was surprising and interesting, and I enjoyed it.

On a side note, the first of the three stories depressed the hell out of me. Maybe it was because I was still on antibiotics and not feeling all that great, or maybe it just made me sad - Ugresic wrote a dynamic between an ailing older woman and her younger daughter that tore my freaking heart apart. It was like wandering through the Swamp of Sadness in The Neverending Story - I could barely find the energy and desire to make it to the second story. What got me through was just how beautifully it was written. It was real, and that's what touched me. It was believable.
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Reading Progress

06/15/2011 page 41
06/16/2011 page 138
42.0% ""And what about us? We push on. Life may linger, lurking for the attack, but the tale moves on, without looking back.""
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Hesper I was curious what you'd think of it. The first story was my favorite as well--beautiful writing--but after that it sort of disintegrated. Maybe the difference was I had grown up with Baba Yaga stories and had high, and probably unreasonable, expectations for this.

I'll have to look at the rest of the books in this series. It sounds like an interesting premise.

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