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Baba Yaga Laid an Egg

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"Baba Yaga is an old hag who lives in a house built on chicken legs and kidnaps small children. She is one of the most pervasive and powerful creatures in all mythology."

"But what does she have to do with a writer's journey to Bulgaria in 2007 on behalf of her mother?"

"Or with a trio of women who decide in their old age to spend a week together at a hotel spa?"

By the end of Dubravka Ugresic's novel, the answers are revealed. Her story is shot through with spellbinding, magic, involving a gambling triumph, sudden death on the golf course, a long-lost grandchild, an invasion of starlings, and wartime flight, the consequences of which are revealed only decades later.

327 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2007

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About the author

Dubravka Ugrešić

65 books504 followers
Dubravka Ugrešić was a Yugoslav, Croatian and Dutch writer. She left Croatia in 1993 and was based in Amsterdam since 1996. She described herself as "post-Yugoslav, transnational, or, even more precisely, postnational writer".

Dubravka Ugrešić earned her degrees in Comparative Literature, Russian Language and Literature at the University of Zagreb, and worked for twenty years at the Institute for Theory of Literature at Zagreb University, successfully pursuing parallel careers as a writer and a literary scholar.

She started writing professionally with screenplays for children’s television programs, as an undergraduate. In 1971 she published her first book for children Mali plamen, which was awarded a prestigious Croatian literary prize for children’s literature. Ugresic published two more books (Filip i Srecica, 1976; Kucni duhovi, 1988), and then gave up writing for children.

As a literary scholar Dubravka Ugrešić was particularly interested in Russian avant-garde culture. She was a co-editor of the international scholarly project Pojmovnik ruske avangarde, (A Glossary of the Russian Avangarde) for many years. She rediscovered forgotten Russian writers such as Konstantin Vaginov and Leonid Dobychin, and published a book on Russian contemporary fiction (Nova ruska proza, 1980). She translated fiction into Croatian from Russian (Boris Pilnyak, Gola godina; Daniil Kharms, Nule i nistice), and edited anthologies of both Russian contemporary and avant-garde writing (Pljuska u ruci, 1989).

Dubravka Ugrešić was best known in the former Yugoslavia for her fiction, novels and short stories: Poza za prozu, 1978; Stefica Cvek u raljama zivota, 1981; Zivot je bajka, 1983; Forsiranje romana reke, 1988.

Her novel Forsiranje romana reke was given the coveted NIN-award for the best novel of the year: Ugrešić was the first woman to receive this honor.
Croatian film director Rajko Grlic made a film U raljama zivota (1984) based on Ugrešić’s short novel Stefica Cvek u raljama zivota. Ugrešić co-authored the screenplay, as she did with screenplays for two other movies and a TV drama.

In 1991, when the war broke out in the former Yugoslavia, Ugrešić took a firm anti-nationalistic stand and consequently an anti-war stand. She started to write critically about nationalism (both Croatian and Serbian), the stupidity and criminality of war, and soon became a target of the nationalistically charged media, officials, politicians, fellow writers and anonymous citizens. She was proclaimed a “traitor”, a “public enemy” and a “witch” in Croatia, ostracized and exposed to harsh and persistent media harassment. She left her country of origin in 1993.

Dubravka Ugrešić continued writing since she began living abroad. She published novels (Muzej bezuvjetne predaje, Ministarstvo boli) and books of essays (Americki fikcionar, Kultura lazi, Zabranjeno citanje, Nikog nema doma).

Her books have been translated into more then twenty languages. Dubravka Ugrešić has received several major European literary awards. In 2016, Ugrešić won the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

On March 17th of 2023, one of Europe's most distinctive essayists, Dubravka Ugrešić, died in Amsterdam at the age of 73.

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5 stars
451 (21%)
4 stars
814 (38%)
3 stars
581 (27%)
2 stars
197 (9%)
1 star
60 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 332 reviews
Profile Image for Jonfaith.
1,855 reviews1,370 followers
July 13, 2014

Baba Yaga is a witch of Slavic legend. I've always thought it sounded cool as hell. Baba Roga is the Serbian equivalent, though that is disputed.

Ugresic's novel is a meditation on women and ageing, and moreso the parenthetical threat in such. The feminism within appears honest. (as if i could judge, as if i were willing) The narrative concerns a series of situations. The "author" is concerned about her elderly mother living in Zagreb (Croatia). The mother is suffer aphasia and possibly dementia. The "author" receives a fan letter from a Bulgarian folklorist completing her doctorate. The folklorist is coming to Zagreb for a conference and wishes to arrange a meeting. The "author" regretfully declines, citing travel obligations but suggests that the folklorist may wish to stay with her own mother, whose has family in Bulgaria, thus allowing the "fan" a free lodging if she looks after her mum. Doesn't that sound a bit kooky?

Well the "author" and the folklorist ultimately make a trip back to Bulgaria which only serves to further illustrate the questionable attitude of the "author." It also serves to pencil in a cast of characters which feature in the next section. This section occurs at a former spa in the Czech Republic, now rebranded as a wellness center. What ensues is a fairy tale and a delightful one. The final section is a treatise by the folklorist on the titular phenomenon of Baba Yaga

Let us imagine women (that hardly negligible half of humankind, after all), those Baba Yagas, plucking the swords from beneath their heads and sallying forth to settle the accounts?! For every smack in the face, every rape, every affront, every hurt, every drop of spittle on their faces. can we imagine al those Indian brides and widows rising form the ashes where they were burned alive and going forth into the world with drawn swords int heir hands?! Let's try to imagine all those invisible women peering out between their woven bars, from their dark bunker-burkas, and the ones who keep their mouths hidden behind the burka's miniature curtains even when they are speaking, eating and kissing. Let's imagine a million-strong army of 'madwomen', homeless women, beggar women; women with faces scorched by acid, because self-styled righteous men took offense at the expression on a bare female face; women whose lives are completely in the power of their husbands, fathers and brothers; women who were stoned and survived, and others who perished at the hands of male mobs. Let's now imagine all those women lifting their robes and drawing their swords. . .

That vein proceeds for another half of a page. I admired tha admixture of poetry, faux-academic analysis and the quotidian.
Profile Image for Melki.
5,793 reviews2,340 followers
March 21, 2022
As we grow older, we weep less and less. It takes energy to weep. In old age neither the lungs, nor the heart, nor the tear ducts, nor the muscles have the strength for great misery. Age is a kind of natural sedative, perhaps because age itself is a misfortune.

This is a novel told in three parts, only one of which I particularly enjoyed.

The first story of a woman dealing with her difficult elderly mother chafed me, as my difficult elderly mother-in-law is fussing to move in with my husband and me. (Pigs will fly around in chartreuse mortars and pestles before this happens!)

I did like the second, which featured three old "crones" at a health spa.

Unfortunately the book concluded with a bland comparison of the previous story and the Baba Yaga legend. Nothing ruins a good time like turning a fun folktale into a dissertation, chock-a-block with footnotes.

I almost tacked on another star as last pages include a unifying battle cry for women that I loved. (And, yes, I think just about every reviewer has included this quote, but it made me want to stand up and cheer, and I want to remember it, so . . . ):

Let's imagine a million-strong army of 'madwomen', homeless women, beggar women, women with faces scorched by acid, because self-styled righteous men took offense at the expression on a bare female face; women whose lives are completely in the power of their husbands, fathers and brothers; women who were stoned and survived, and others who perished at the hands of male mobs. Let's now imagine all those women lifting their robes and drawing their swords.

Let 'er rip, ladies.
Profile Image for Aubrey.
1,306 reviews753 followers
December 17, 2015
...they would finally stop bowing down to men with bloodshot eyes, men who are guilty of killing millions of people, and who still have not had enough. For they are the ones who leave a trail of human skulls behind them, yet people's torpid imaginations stick those skulls on the fence of a solitary old woman who lives on the edge of the forest.
This book is the same breed as Mr. Fox, metafiction put through its paces for a far more exacting goal than that of navel gazing and the like. Here there is no pretense that fiction owes nothing to reality and as such is free to do what it likes. Instead, we have the triptych of author, story, and critic, with nary a needful implication of holiness between them. The world doesn't need another extension of the patriarchal metaphor that is most religions. The women this tale would never have gotten a happy, self-determining, human ending, were that not the case.

Increasingly subtle the book is not, but that of course is hard to pull off when the choice of an old woman as a character is unusual enough. Harder still to treat her with understanding, poor thing, for unless she has a bevy of grandchildren she is left to crazed abandonment, ending only upon ingestion by her many cats. Old men may go along insane and alone, it's true, but at least they have the benefit of uncannily keen eccentricity and a shotgun. When one has no quotas of physical appeal and/or fertility to fill, it's easy enough to grow old without being shamed into isolation.
Sitting like that under an array of sun specks, surrendered to sleep, she looked like an ancient slumbering goddess.
I've picked up pieces of the picture of misogyny indoctrinated through cultural beliefs the world over through The Second Sex and The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, but it's one thing for the phrase 'Baba Yaga' to bring to mind a comb, a towel, a house on chicken legs, and quite another to immerse oneself in the entire mythos of this menacing specter. Crone, witch, hater of women and killer of children, full of dastardly danger if one is not male and doesn't treat her with enough officious scorn. What matters here is not adherence to the canon, but what said adherence means in the long run for those born without a dick. Folklore and fairy tales it all may be, but fiction upon fiction births excuse upon excuse to forgo representations based on anything but poisonous stereotype. Grow up with promises woven through every tale, true and/or false, of brutal retribution should you stray from the path of innocent beauty and selfless huswifery, your only reward for such self-sacrifice being neglectful contempt, and see how far you get.
All in all, it is not hard to conclude from this quick survey that Baba Yaga straddles the globe: the 'baba genus'is international, and Baba Yaga's kinsfolk can be found in Asia, South America, and Africa; 'Baba Yaga's International' is making trouble here, there and everywhere, as it has always done.
Ježibaba, Baba Roga, Forest Mother, Mountain Mother, Mamapadurei, Baba Cloanta, Baba Coaja, Baba Harca, Sfinta Vineri, Vasorru baba, Ragana, Jendžibaba, wurlawy, Wjera, Zhaliznonosa baba, gamlemor, trollkjerring, kjerringa mot strommen, Syoyatar, Akka, Arie, Perchta, Frau Holle, ALabasti, Empusa, Lamia, Hecatete, Eos, Selea, Erida, Ino, Medusa, Graeae, Erinyes, Harpies, Stymphalides, Sphinx, Larvae, Strige, Mainas, Echidna, Morai, Parcae, Norns, crone, witch, spinster, manhater, bitch, whore, slut, shrew. All this, and for what? You tell me.
Profile Image for MJ Nicholls.
2,023 reviews4,067 followers
August 26, 2014
A curious, playful triptych centred around the Baba Yaga myth. The first part concerns a writer (based on Dubravka Ugrešić) taking care of her embittered mother while a fawning admirer chases her around Slovenia. The second (and longest) is set among a group of bubbly octogenarians at a spa resort, mingling with odious males with permanent erections. The last part is a lengthy dissertation on Slavic folklore, presented by the fawning admirer, with little meta-comments on the previous two sections à la Pale Fire or Little Casino.

I wish I had more time to review all these books I read, but life is fleeting and I’d rather read another gobsmacking Work of Art than write a long dissertation. Know this: Ugrešić is where it’s at in Croatia. She’s witty, hip and erudite, and you want to be reading her. Oh yes, you do.
Profile Image for Fionnuala.
778 reviews
June 13, 2017
For wonderful descriptions of what it is like to be old but still young, creaking in every limb but still with the usual appetites and desires. All the stuff we usually ignore about the old is explored here through the myth of Baba Yaga.
Profile Image for Yoana.
380 reviews15 followers
February 21, 2017
Досега не бях чела такова нещо - книга, която съдържа в себе си свой литературен разбор, съвсем буквално! Иде ми да го нарека пост-пост-модернизъм, защото е екстра мета. А най-объркващото е, че това "екстра" в метата се изразява в доброволния отговор на предмодерния въпрос "Какво е искал да каже автора" от самия автор - викториански похват, изпълнен постмодерно. Красота.

От една страна това е страхотно интересно, но от друга се получава сериозна накъсаност, защото имаме 3 различни жанра в едно произведение, като последният е особено любопитен, защото е нехудожествена литература като част от художествена. Получава се много интересна прескачанка, която достига върха си, когато разказвачката от последната част (която е една от героините, за които се отнася нейния разбор!) се чуди защо авторката не е използвала последната част от поговорката, чиито първи две части озаглавяват първите две части на романа, а в действителност третата част е изпозлвана за заглавие тъкмо на тази част, в която се случва това чудене. Първите две части са наричани "диптих" в третата част, която прави произведението триптих. Наистина досега не бях срещала книга, която да се самопосочва точно по този начин - съвсем буквално и директно като литературно произведение със съответните условности и позициониране, а не просто като обект. Да направиш анализа на произведението си част от него.

Най-много ми хареса първата част, защото звучеше супер автентично по тема, която ми е особено скъпа, а и защото претворяването на Баба Яга в нея според мен е най-елегантно и с най-много въображение. Втората ми се видя малко буквална, а третата, разбира се, има за цел да бъде буквална - макар че според мен преплита измислица с фолклористика на доста места и на Угрешич сигурно й е било много забавно да изплете тази плетеница, за която само тя притежава ключа.

И трите части се занимават с пресичането на женскостта и старостта, но контрастът между пламенното хвърляне на мъжките престъпления срещу жените в лице��о на целокупното мъжко население от третата част и доста слабо изпълнената социална критика от първата и втората част се набива на очи и тази несъразмерност за мен е сериозна слабост на романа. Реч��а на Аба Багаи от "нехудожествената" част е страхотна, и е правдива, но ако беше подплатена с по-силна, по-осезаема критика, изпълнена с интрументариума на художествената литература, щеше да има по-плътен отзвук и да прилича по-малко на кух слоган, в който набързо са натикани всички проблеми на мизогинията.

Въпреки всички критики давам 4 звезди, защото е много добре написана, увлекателна и супер необичайна книга.

2015 Reading Challenge: A book that was originally written in a different language
Profile Image for dianne .
630 reviews98 followers
March 30, 2023
"Perhaps that is why people hang on so desperately to their stubborn little truths, because who knows, if everything was put together, as in this case, people would fall apart. It is the brutal truth that what we know about other people could be contained in an insultingly small package.”

What a delicious book. Stories about myths - how myths travel, and while traveling they retell and translate themselves. And they never reach their destination. There are secrets revealed flawlessly; women’s silences and women’s words. There are dissections of Russian fairy tales and long, beguiling riffs on painters. Why did so many paint “woman with parrot”? Manet and Courbet painted theirs the same year. Were they “..sending each other secret messages about the length of their respective penises?” Previously unfamiliar with these paintings, I’ve checked them out online and I think it is a reasonable question.
It's a really funny book.

If you haven’t read this, consider yourself lucky because life has something wonderful in store for you. Did you know that “to have a story with someone” means to be in love (Russia and Bulgaria)? Isn’t that delightful?

This is a triptych of edible characters, all rich with irony and totally juicy. Here is a completely not statistically significant sample (from different sections):

“Aba had stumbled onto the truth by chance: yes, she was an aging little girl. She was born with the invisible mark of the unloved child on her brow. It made no difference whether they'd really loved her or not, would love her or not; the hunger was born with her, and with her it would vanish.”

“Beba sat in the bath wrapped in lacey foam. She could not remember the last time anyone had treated her with greater warmth or tenderness than this hotel bath. This was the kind of painful realisation that drives the more sensitive to put a bullet in their temple, or at least look around to see where they might attach an adequately strong noose.”

“Topolanek was not burdened with a surfeit of character, and this little handicap saved his life. Mild as grass, he bent whichever way the wind blew. Only oaks are destroyed by storms, thought Dr Topolanek poetically, while grass just keeps on growing.”

Set in post-Communist Eastern Europe, an area sprinkled with languages and superimposed English blesses us with delightful malapropisms:

A lovable spa attendant, Mevlo, who has a huge crush on an American girl, has only learned a bit of English; all of it gleaned from Bosnian war CNN. After the object of his affections loses her father he attempts to comfort her:
“I am sorry, I understand the full extent of your damage.”
And, equally soothingly: “Stay calm, but tense.”

Beba, who only has the sounds of a few English words, shouts a friendly “Die!” to an American swindler also staying at the resort, as she leaves the spa. (Sounds like “Bye!” yes?)
The next day (to the same man who is trying to date her friend)
“Have a nice lay!” (day!) More poignantly, after an odd night in the casino, she decides
“It was best to weep on it”.

This is a sweeping tale of three old women, all holding mythic forces. And a couple more, not so old, on their way, too. Past secrets are revealed with impeccable timing, and symbolism, ah, symbolism - eggs, Matryoshka dolls, and Baba Yaga.

“The invisibility in which we live next to each other is appalling, thought Kukla.”

The third part of the triptych was a warm bath wrapped in lacey foam for me. Hilarious, tragic, relevant. Actually, the whole book was. What a ride. The best book since Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. I know nothing about these cultures and I felt so completed by this story. Only Joan Didion understands me better.

“While the meaning of life may slip from our hold, the purpose of a tale is to be told!”
Profile Image for Paula Mota.
963 reviews307 followers
March 2, 2020

“Quem sabe de mais, cedo de mais envelhece.”

Como obra feminista, “Baba Yaga Pôs um Ovo” atinge o seu objectivo ao estabelecer paralelismos entre a lenda eslava da bruxa Baba Yaga com a atitude misógina da sociedade em relação às mulheres, sobretudo as mais velhas. Como obra literária, não me convenceu, porque está cheia de altos e baixos.
Na primeira parte, a autora lida com a mãe idosa e doente com muita compaixão, mas sem sentimentalismos, e regressa à Bulgária da sua infância, onde se encontra com uma fã manhosa, mantendo sempre um sarcasmo soberbo.
Na segunda parte, outra velhota previamente mencionada instala-se com duas excêntricas amigas num hotel de luxo, e o que poderia ser uma pungente e ácida meditação sobre a feminilidade na terceira idade e a perda de vontade de continuar a viver torna-se num circo disparatado, com direito a um bósnio que “arma a tenda” como trauma de guerra e uma espécie de mestre-de-cerimónias, quando Dubravka Ugresic decide quebrar a quarta parede com apartes em forma de rima.
Na terceira parte, a Dra. Aba Bagay (!) analisa as secções anteriores à luz dos seus vastos conhecimentos sobre a Baba Yaga, detectando as características do mito na construção da narrativa e das personagens, mas a forma enciclopédica como o faz, com direito a notas de rodapé quase mais extensas do que o texto em si, torna a leitura fastidiosa. Como é referido aqui, poder-se-ia reler a obra na posse de todas estas informações, para encontrar as pistas como num policial, mas, para isso, a história teria de ser um pouco mais estimulante.

“Estou convencida de que há registos conservados algures (...), que existe um livro de reclamações dolorosamente enorme e que a conta terá de ser paga.(...) Portanto, vamos imaginar que as mulheres (dificilmente se pode desprezar metade da humanidade, afinal de contas), aquelas Baba Yagas, a puxarem das espadas (...) e a avançarem para cobrar a conta?! Por cada bofetada, cada violação, cada afronta, cada ferida, cada gota de cuspo nas suas caras.(...) Vamos imaginar um exército de mulheres com a força de milhões, de “mulheres furiosas”, mulheres desabrigadas, mulheres mendigas (...) As centenas de milhares de raparigas destruídas pela sida, vítimas de homens insanos, pedófilos, mas também dos maridos e pais tão respeitadores da lei.(...) Os milhões de mulheres que rezam a deuses masculinos e seus representantes na terra."
Profile Image for Galina.
160 reviews126 followers
December 5, 2014
Цяла година чакам да се появи в живота ми онова заглавие, което ще ми върне желанието да напиша дълго, подробно ревю. Да седна и хем разсъждавайки, хем емоционално, да събера мислите и впечатленията, които остава в мен даден текст.

И когато тази книга е открита и прочетена, за нея може да се каже и напише ужасно малко.
Че честно и дори нахално развява истината за старостта в един свят, който има нужда от бляскави коси, гладка кожа и изправена походка, за да признае на жената правото да бъде и да съществува.
Че страниците са пълни с нелогични събития, необясними реакции, със символи, скрити значения, митологически препратки, приказни откъси.
И че е най-добрата симбиоза между художествен тест и фолклористичен анализ, на който някога съм попадала.

Profile Image for Tonkica.
625 reviews118 followers
July 4, 2021

Roman u triptihu u svom prvom dijelu govori o odnosu kćeri prema već staroj i bolesnoj majci. Drugi dio predvode tri stare žene koje posjećuju spa i wellness hotel gdje svaka od njih donosi viđenje cijelog boravka. Treći dio je ispričan od strane folkloriste.

Cijeli osvrt pronađite ovdje: https://knjige-u-svom-filmu.webador.c...
Profile Image for Деница Райкова.
Author 71 books211 followers
May 1, 2019
Дубравка Угрешич - "Баба Яга снесла яйце", изд. "Панорама" 2014, прев. Русанка Ляпова

Прочетох една необикновена книга.
Ако бях започнала да пиша за нея преди няколко часа, сигурно щях да я определя като "странна". Странна книга с "вещерско" заглавие, дочетена точно "в часа на вещиците". Днес обаче, на дневна светлина, ще я нарека "необикновена".
Тази книга ме привлече най-напред със заглавието си. Разбира се, чувала съм за Дубравка Угрешич, но не бях чела нито една нейна книга. И бях любопитна.
Второто, което ме впечатли в книгата - след заглавието - беше нейната структура. А вероятно и жанрът й, защото тя не е точно роман. Състои се от три части, две от които съставляват т. нар. "диптих" - тоест, макар не всички герои да са едни и същи, двете истории са свързани помежду си. А третата е сякаш обяснението на двете. Макар тя да не е точно "история" в точния смисъл на думата,у всъщност представлява нещо като свързваща нишка между тях. И без нея всяка от другите две истории би ни се сторила донякъде банална, макар във втората да присъстват доста живописни персонажи.
Защо казвам, че първата история може да се стори банална на някого? Защото в нея се разглеждат теми като старостта и смъртта, и като постепенната загуба на човешко достойнство, настъпваща понякога с остаряването. Но тук темата за старостта и смъртта не се поднася "смекчено" - напротив. Тя е представена безмилостно, сурово, грубо - "грубо" не като тил на писане, а като въздействие върху читателя. Беше ми тъжно да чета за пътуването на дъщерята, за нейната "мисия", възложена й от майката, защото ми беше ясно, че няма да открие града от спомените на майка си, а място, което дори и сама не би познала. Тъжна и мрачна ми беше тази история, защото е тъжно, когато се върнеш на познато място след дълго отсъствие и откриеш, че нищо, което си спомняш, вече не е там; но е съкрушаващо, когато се връщаш, за да разкажеш след това на някого за любимите му някогашни места, и откриеш, че няма какво да му кажеш.
Втората история беше като че ли малко по-светла. Да, наистина, и нейните героини - "прескочили" в нея от първата - също са в края на живота си. Но те като че ли са решени да не се предават... и дори да извлекат нещо забавно от живота, който им остава. Моментът с гигантското яйце дълго ще си остане сред любимите ми.
И накрая... да, човек наистина трябва да стигне до третата история, представена като дипломна работа върху славянския фолклор и най-вече образа на Баба Яга, за да разбере много неща - защо персонажите в историята са все стари жени /защото всяка от тях носи по нещо от образа на Баба Яга/, защо заглавията на двете части на диптиха носят именно такива заглавия; защо героините са представени точно с тези имена /или по-скоро прозвища/, които всъщност в основата си са едно и също име. Харесаа ми вмъкнатите приказни мотиви, както и приказките, цитиани в бележките под линия. Много ме впечатли "мотивът за яйцето".
В заключение: "Баба Яга снесла яйце" не е лесна за четене книга. Нито е лека като история. Но бих препоръчала на всички, които обичат интересните мотиви и богатия език, да я прочетат. Определено няма да загубите - напротив, ще спечелите прекрасно поднесени интересни познания.
Profile Image for Kavita.
760 reviews370 followers
May 13, 2020
Baba Yaga is a creature of legend in many Slavic cultures. She is usually depicted as an old woman with supernatural powers. She could play the role of a wise woman helping the quest of the hero or that of a witch intent on devouring little children. In short, Baba Yaga is a culmination of sexist attitudes towards women over time. We all have these characters in our respective cultures. Here, Dubravka Ugrešić has tried to deconstruct the myth of this woman and connect it to feminism and old age. I like the theme and also what Ugrešić tried to do, but it didn't work for me.

Baba Yaga Laid an Egg is split into three parts, which are loosely connected. The first part follows a daughter who visits Bulgaria as a favour to her ageing mother. She meets an annoying student there, who follows her around like a puppy. And then nothing really happens and the first part is finished quite abruptly.

The second part is about three women who go to a spa. This part of the book simply appeared to go on and on endlessly with some random men thrown in. There were a few moments when I thought there might just be a story forming, but it mostly just led to more random monologues by the author.

The third consists of the author trying to tell us how the first two parts are connected to Baba Yaga. This was quite informative, and I would have given an extra star for this portion. But the author's voice was so grating and I was constantly annoyed. Her pompous use of 'your author' to refer to herself annoyed me immensely. She's not 'my' author! She's just an author I picked up by mistake and regret reading her crappy book. And then her monologues in the second part at the end of every chapter! Talk about inserting yourself into every page!

And then, there is the fact that she used the entire third portion of her book to explain exactly why everyone in the first two parts were Baba Yaga and what exactly she was trying to say in her 'story'. This is taking 'telling, not showing' to dizzying heights. This could have been done much better if Ugrešić had just tried to write a more interesting and coherent story.

I found this book sadly lacking in every way and it's simply a miracle that I finished it. Maybe that was the Baba Yaga in me showing miraculous powers. Who knows?
Profile Image for Kayıp Rıhtım.
362 reviews257 followers
February 22, 2016
Baba Yaga (Yaga Büyükanne/Hanım), Slav folklorunda yer alan korkutucu, mitolojik bir karakterdir. Pek de iyi görmeyen gözleri, sarkmış memeleri, gagaya benzer bir burnu ve kemikten bir bacağı olan cadı, küçük çocukları yakalayıp yemesiyle bilinir. Ormanın en karanlık yerinde, tavuk ayakları üzerinde duran küçük kulübesinde sürdürür yaşantısını. Kulübesini terk ettiği zamanlarda havan tokmağını kürek çekmekte kullanarak bir dibeğin içinde uçar. Yarı ölü, yarı diridir.

Kitap üç bölümden oluşuyor. Yazar bu bölümlere Baba Yaga masallarından alıntıladığı çok hoş isimler vermiş. Bölümlerin içeriği ve sunumu birbirinden tamamen farklı olmakla birlikte, bir bölümde yüzünü hafifçe gösteren bir karakter, sonraki bölümde ana karakter haline geldiği için üç farklı malzeme birbirine çengelli iğnelerle tutturulmuş hissi verse de, kitabın bütünlüğü sağlanıyor.

Kitaba dair pek çok şeyi beğenmiş olmakla birlikte en ilham verici bulduğum kısım, doğrusal bir kurgu yerine yamalı bir anlatımın tercih edilmesi oldu. Yazarın kurgu boyunca okuru, tersten okuma oyunlarına sevk ediyor.

Sözlü gelenekte masalları artık anlatılmıyor olsa da, Baba Yaga, varlığını sürdürüyor hala. Kimi zaman uyarlamarla, kimi zaman da oyunlarda yer alarak geri gelmeye devam ediyor. Güzel bir kurgu eşliğinde, onu kapsamlı olarak tanımak isteyen herkese kitabı tavsiye ederim.

- Sayhh

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Profile Image for Story.
859 reviews4 followers
March 6, 2019
In Slavic folk stories, Baba Yaga is a supernatural crone/ witch /sorceress who lives in a house with chicken feet and flies through the air in a mortar, sometimes hurting and sometimes helping people. Sometimes she's one person and sometimes three. But always, she's old, old, old, so frighteningly old and decrepit.

Dubravka Ugrešić's re-imagining of Baba Yaga's story (part of the Cannongate Myths series) is a triptych. The first part is a wry but mournful reflection by a daughter about her mother's old age. The second and funniest is about three crones who go to a spa and and make a lot of things happen while the third part "Baba Yaga for Beginners," is written by a fictional folklorist who interprets the first two stories. Overall, a funny, dark and interesting introduction to the Baba Yaga stories as well as a rousing reflection on society's treatment of elderly women and women in general.

Two quotations from the story, the first from the beginning and the second from the end:

"At first you don’t see them. At first they’re invisible. And then all at once you begin to spot them. They shuffle around the world like armies of elderly angels. One of them peers into your face. She glares at you, her eyes wide, her gaze a pale blue, and voices her request with a proud and condescending tone. She is asking for your help, she needs to cross the street but she cannot do it alone… You feel a pang of sympathy for the old lady, you are moved, you do a good deed, swept by the thrill of gallantry. It is precisely at this moment that you should dig in your heels, resist the siren call, make an effort to lower the temperature of your heart. Remember, their tears do not mean the same thing as yours do. Because if you relent, give in, exchange a few more words, you will be in their thrall. You will slide into a world that you had no intention of entering, because your time has not yet come, your hour, for God’s sake, has not come.”

"Let us imagine women (that hardly negligible half of humankind, after all), those Baba Yagas, plucking the swords from beneath their heads and sallying forth to settle the accounts?! For every smack in the face, every rape, every affront, every hurt, every drop of spittle on their faces. Can we imagine all those Indian brides and widows rising form the ashes where they were burned alive and going forth into the world with drawn swords into their hands?!

Let's try to imagine all those invisible women peering out between their woven bars, from their dark bunker-burkas, and the ones who keep their mouths hidden behind the burka's miniature curtains even when they are speaking, eating and kissing. Let's imagine a million-strong army of 'madwomen', homeless women, beggar women; women with faces scorched by acid, because self-styled righteous men took offense at the expression on a bare female face; women whose lives are completely in the power of their husbands, fathers and brothers; women who were stoned and survived, and others who perished at the hands of male mobs.

Let's now imagine all those women lifting their robes and drawing their swords..."
Profile Image for Carlos B..
345 reviews24 followers
November 2, 2020
Es un libro bastante peculiar que me ha gustado mucho. La novela consta de dos relatos cortos y una tercera parte donde un personaje ficticio analiza los dos relatos anteriores relacionándolos con diversos elementos del folclore eslavo y la figura de Baba Yaga.

Ugrešić escribe muy bien. Es un libro muy ameno. Pasas un buen rato leyéndolo. Además, siguiendo el modelo de la fábula, hay cierta moraleja, que si bien suele chirriar, en este caso casa muy bien con el tono general de la obra.

Si te gusta la cultura eslava, la tercera parte del libro es una delicia. No tiene el ritmo de las dos partes anteriores pero Ugrešić repasa la figura de Baba Yaga y de la mitología eslava, nos habla de cuentos populares, y de la maltratada figura femenina... ¿he dicho ya que es una delicia?
Profile Image for Mar Panzano.
72 reviews20 followers
February 19, 2021
Baba Yagá es una anciana sobrenatural que vive en las profundidades del bosque ruso, en una casa levantada sobre una pata de gallina y rodeada de árboles y huesos humanos. A pesar de ser una bruja temible del folclore eslavo y al igual que otras mujeres de la mitología clásica como Medea o Medusa, Baba Yagá se ha convertido en un reconocido símbolo de feminidad y de poder, sobreviviendo al paso del tiempo para continuar ejerciendo su influjo en nuestros días.

Es una figura que está más allá de los límites morales. Villana y Madrina, Madre Naturaleza y Muerte, aliada y enemiga, mujer y misógina..., su rol es desconcertante dentro de la tradición folclórica, adoptando diferente nombres y formas que Dubravka Ugrešić rescata en este libro de cuentos que a su vez conforma otro gran cuento en el que Baba Yagá aparece en todas sus formas.

En él, la vejez, la decrepitud, la muerte, el abandono, el deseo, el amor, la maternidad, el olvido, la longevidad, la inocencia... se muestran a través de la historia de diferentes mujeres, siendo todas ellas una parte de Baba Yagá.

Asimismo, supone una reflexión sobre los nuevos tiempos, caracterizados por el pánico ante la inevitable vejez y un esfuerzo obsesivo por aplazar (e, incluso, eliminar) el envejecimiento. Por supuesto, algo destinado para las altas esferas del poder que se han convertido en las nuevas vírgenes que toman baños con la sangre de su pueblo y donde, al parecer, Baba Yagá se ha convertido en el único personaje auténtico de nuestra historia, la cual por fin tiene su propia voz de mujer dentro de la historia que durante siglos ha sido contada desde la perspectiva masculina y del patriarcado sobre la que se han asentado los mitos en los que aparece.
Profile Image for María Sánchez.
Author 3 books629 followers
September 12, 2020
Qué maravilla de libro
Un alegato feminista que revisa y defiende a las brujas de nuestros cuentos y leyendas.
Este libro me va a acompañar durante mucho tiempo.
Profile Image for El.
1,355 reviews503 followers
June 18, 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.
Profile Image for Emily M.
272 reviews
December 17, 2019
3.5 stars, rounded down for enjoyability.

An erudite, pointed and intriguing contribution to the Canongate Myths series. Dealing with Russian folklore mainstay Baba Yaga and her various regional dopplegangers, this is a book that questions why old women are so often grotesque and a force of evil in classic stories (and perhaps still today), and considers the ageing female body and mind, and fallout from the breakup of Yugoslavia, from a number of perspectives.

The text is unabashedly post-modern. It is presented in three sections: in the first, the Croatian narrator (author?) tells us about her ageing mother, and takes a trip her mother’s Bulgarian hometown with a clingy young folklore scholar. The narrator is disdainful of folklore studies. In Part 2, three old ladies, two of whom appear to be characters from Part 1 but with different life stories, take a trip to a Czech spa, and much zaniness ensues. In Part 3, the folklore scholar (whose name, Aba Bagay, is ostensibly in honour of the Swedish pop group but bears a clear resemblance to the figure of myth and legend) comments on both earlier texts, uncovering the layers upon layers of Baba Yaga symbolism (while interpreting much of the original Baba Yaga material through a questionable Freudian analysis).

It sounds like fun, and it is undoubtedly a stimulating, intelligent and layered work. And yet.

“You’ve been bored,” the scholar (or perhaps the narrator, or perhaps the author) cheerily pronounces as the book draws to a close. Well, yes actually. The first section is appealing in its gentle melancholy, but the second is wearying in its implausibility and cartoonishness, and the third, while providing a fascinating overview of many variants of Baba Yaga lore, is also didactic and overlong.

The text then suddenly picks up speed again in the last few pages, becoming a pointed, blistering feminist critique and ending with a welcome bang. All in all, a worthy read. A bit of a slog, at times, but clearly representative of a writer with much to say, and interesting ways to say it.
Profile Image for Larissa.
329 reviews14 followers
December 4, 2013
Once you notice them, old women are everywhere...

And so too are the starlings to my mothers great dismay. The noise is bad enough, but the mess they make would drive my mother crazy. She could not stand anything unclean or untidy in her home. But cleanliness was not her only battle, she was losing her words and becoming mixed up from Alzheimer's.

At the Grand Hotel three old women are checking in, how long they stay is up to fate. The oldest is confined to a wheelchair, wearing a single large boot with both legs tucked inside. The next is an exceptionally tall woman who seems to always carry a breeze about her; she also carries a string of dead husbands behind her. The last is a short grey haired woman with big bosoms and an equally big heart.

But what has any of this to do with Baba Yaga, a witch who flies about in a mortar, all but blind with only her great sense of smell to lead her as she moves about the world for good deeds or ill, making mischief at her will. As a woman of great power, Baba Yaga has the ability to alter her size or her shape, often taking the form of a bird. And isn't it birds who lay eggs...

Baba Yaga Laid an Egg is an utterly unique story retelling the myth of Baba Yaga in a distinctive style that is free of traditional form. The story of Baba Yaga is a story of women; mothers, daughters and lovers.

Traditionally Baba Yaga is an old woman so it is no surprise that the leading characters here are themselves old woman. But it is not just ageing that is cental to the issues in this book but also femininity and identity that is questioned. A story recommended only for those who are willing to put in the effort to get to know this old and startling witch known as Baba Yaga.
Profile Image for Sanja_Sanjalica.
712 reviews
March 18, 2016
Despite the third part being a bit long (but highly informative about Slavic culture and folklore), the novel is an excellent read, dynamic, with a hint of mystery, but believable, the characters are interesting and complex, the situations regarding getting old and the family and friendship relations easy to read, but deep, I highly recommend it, you can even skip the third, (quasi)encyclopaedic part and read it separately from the novelistic part of the book, but you get a new layer of the novel with that part.
Profile Image for Nicko D.
264 reviews82 followers
May 23, 2019
Съвремието ни се характеризира с панически страх от стареенето, както и с натрапчиви усилия за отлагане и маскиране на старостта. Страхът от стареене е един от най-силните страхове на съвременните жени и именно него хърватската писателка Дубравка Угрешич залага като основна тема в брилянтния си и нестандартен по своята структура роман „Баба Яга снесла яйце”. Изпълнена с биографични моменти и спомени за любимата Варна, както и интелигентно поднесена житейска философия, примесена с отлично изследвана митология, превръщат творбата на Угрешич в един правдив анализ, посветен на остаряването и съпровождащите го трудности и заблуди. „Баба Яга снесла яйце” е част от каталога на издателство „Колибри”, в превод на Русанка Ляпова.

Романът на Дубравка Угрешич е разделен на три части, свързани помежду си с тънка невидима нишка. Първата част, озаглавена: „Иди там – не знам къде, донеси онова – не знам какво” разглежда отношенията между остаряваща и болна майка, която губи паметта си, и обърканата й дъщеря, която осъзнава колко потресаващо невидими сме за ближните си. В тази част на книгата се наблюдават изключително много автобиографични моменти; Дубравка Угрешич предприема пътуване до родната Варна, която и в живота всъщност е неин втори дом. Във втората си родина героинята се чувства сама, осъзнава, че чужда е именно онази страна, в която няма кой да те посрещне. Книгата представя един изключително автентичен портрет на морската ни столица, считано към 2007-а година, когато „Баба Яга снесла яйце” излиза на хърватски език.

„Питай, ала знай, всяко питане не води до добър край” е втората част на романа, в която три възрастни жени се отдават на заслужена почивка в луксозен хотел, където срещу космически суми се предлагат подмладяващи процедури, релаксиращи масажи и всевъзможни глезории за по-дълъг живот. В своята есен, трите главни героини - Пупа, Беба и Кукла, обикалят конферентните зали на хотела за семинари на изтъкнати европейски учени за теория и практика на дълголетието. Какво ти продължаване на старостта? Продължете младостта, не старостта!

„Който много знае, бързо остарява” е заключителната трета част на „Баба Яга снесла яйце”, в която Угрешич прави подробен разбор и анализ на първите две части на книгата си и теоретично обяснява по какъв начин характерът на героите й е свързан с мита за Баба Яга. Митовете са странстващи – те могат да се разпадат, доизграждат, мутират, трансформират, адаптират и реадаптират; докато странстват от едно място на друго, те биват преразказвани и превеждани. Митовете никога не стигат до крайната си точка, те са в постоянно преходно-преводно състояние. Най-често дори не съществува един митичен сюжет, а само многобройните му варианти, какъвто е случаят и с Баба Яга. На изключително достъпен език Дубравка е поднесла синтезирано как през вековете се е създал образът на Баба Яга на Балканите и по света, където той върлува: защо е жена и каква е препратката му с майките ни, бабите и съпругите; защо живее сама в страшна колиба накрая на гората; защо е стара; каква е връзката й с черните птици? Митологичен образ ли е Баба Яга или до ден днешен тя живее сред нас, но неразпознаваема на външен вид, заради напредъка на медицината?

Може би най-известната и превеждана хърватска писателка по ирония на съдбата не живее в Хърватия - още от 90-те години на ХХ век постоянният адрес на Дубравка Угрешич е в Холандия. Писателката избира да не бъде част от надигащия се национализъм в Хърватия след разпадането на Югославия и става дисидент от нов вид. Тя не приема войнствения национализъм и внезапно засилващ се католицизъм, който е част от новата идентичност на Хърватия, както и затварянето на очите за военните престъпления, извършени от нейните сънародници. Критичният й глас не е одобряван в родината й и тя решава да я напусне. Дали препраща към собствената си история, когато пише, че новата Баба Яга е дисидент, не е напълно ясно, но така или иначе личният й живот и остаряването на майка й, която е българка от Варна, е централен момент в книгата. Книгата изобилства от автобиографични бележки и хапливи коментари спрямо стигмата и стереотипите, свързани със старостта. В целия си текст хърватската писателка критикува човешката незаинтересованост, нежеланието за задълбочаване и доброволно избраното невежество. „Смъртта няма мирис, животът смърди! Старостта не е за слабаци”, пише Угрешич.

Дубравка Угрешич е родена през 1949 г. в Кутина, Хърватия, в семейство на хърватин и българка. Творчеството й е щедро на критики към съвременното общество, често поднесени шеговито и иронично, разнищва проблемите с идентичността и имиграцията, както и порочното, често снизходителн�� отношение към жените писателки. Преведени на повече от 20 езика, произведенията й са удостоени с престижни отличия, сред които наградата на Берлинската академия по изкуствата „Хайнрих Ман“, Международната литературна награда „Нойщадт”, наричана още „Американската Нобелова награда за литература", и номинация за Международната награда „Ман Букър“. Значителна част от творчеството на Дубравка Угрешич не е представена у нас, затова всяко ново издание на нейна книга се превръща в събитие.
Profile Image for Lucas Sierra.
Author 2 books450 followers
January 23, 2022
Islas en donde reír (Reseña, 2022)

En una de las escenas centrales de la segunda parte, Dubravka presenta a una anciana muy anciana, trepada en un flotador en medio de una piscina, con un vestido de baño que lleva estampados a los Teletubbies. Uno de los personajes, al verla, se siente arrobado ante la presencia. Así lo cuenta la autora:

“Beba se apartó durante unos instantes y observó la escena. Sumergido en la piscina hasta la cintura, el joven con los anchos pantalones orientales, el chalequito sobre el torso desnudo y el turbante en la cabeza miraba inmóvil y con respeto a la viejecita con el bañador infantil de los Teletubbies, que flotaba en la tumbona en forma de S horizontal. La ancianita parecía una gallina y el joven, un héroe de Las mil y una noches…” (192).

El fragmento contiene, por lo menos de forma sutil, todos los elementos que consiguen hacer de la prosa de Dubravka una promesa maravillosa, en especial uno, de difícil elaboración y difícil hallazgo, que considero necesario señalar para celebrar: un sentido del humor potente, demoledor, que consigue dinamitar desnudando los huecos estructurales de la contemporaneidad, las grietas por donde, a dios gracias, entra la luz en esta catedral de consumo que hemos erigido en los últimos cien años.

Baba Yagá puso un huevo se escribe alimentándose de esas grietas. Las tres partes de este libro (al que podemos llamar novela, porque novela es cualquier cosa) son un juego de intercambio de comentarios entre la vida, la obra y la crítica. Las tres cosas observadas desde el lente de la literatura, que al parecer no es otra cosa que la consciencia de la ficción: la certeza de que toda construcción narrativa, basada o no en hechos reales o no, es susceptible de una reflexión desde la forma y el artificio. La certeza de que todo, absolutamente todo, es un cuento que alguien empieza a contar en alguna parte, y que los, las y les demás seguimos contando, por los siglos de los siglos, por los segundos de los segundos, hasta el fin de algún tiempo, cualquier tiempo.

Para mí, como lector, es un placer encontrarme con libros como este. Es un gozo, en cierto sentido religioso, comprobar que existen y que se expanden los textos sagrados de esa fe que llamamos ficción, y que en realidad no es otra cosa que la hipótesis, sólo en parpadeos comprobada, de que lo que nos hace personas es la capacidad de contarnos, de explicarnos a nosotres mismes a través de las historias, de comprender el mundo y a las que nos rodean a partir de frases, comentarios, escenas cotidianas que trasladadas al papel ganan nitidez por la distancia, como las fotografías de los viajes que observadas en casa nos revelan esos detalles que no pudimos observar, o que no nos interesó observar, mientras atravesábamos el río de la experiencia.

Hablo de islas de ficción, de islas donde hay una madre y una hija aprendiendo a comprenderse en la cercanía de la muerte; donde hay tres ancianas muy ancianas disfrutando de la piscina de un hotel; donde una experta en folclor le dedica una carta larga al editor de un libro para justificar cómo en el manuscrito recibido aparecen vestigios de una anciana coja, de una anciana bruja, sobre la que se han tejido cientos de versiones y que parece acompañar el acto creador con el reto de su sexualidad desmedida. Islas de ficción en las que se revela algo de nosotros mismos. Islas de ficción desde las que se nos permite observar al mundo a salvo, dentro de la isba de Baba Yagá, mientras el tiempo pasa.

Dubravka lo hace, además, con humor, y esa es la mejor isla que uno puede imaginar. Una isla donde la risa es un deber colectivo a la vez que un placer individual. Siento así, también, la lectura de esta autora, la lectura de este libro.
Profile Image for Orbi Alter .
224 reviews47 followers
February 7, 2017
Uvijek me iznova zadivi njezina inovativnost, zaigranost i njeznost u prezentiranju slicica iz svakodnevnog zivota, a najvise od svega interaktivnost koju ostvaruje sa svojim citateljima i citateljicama u samom procesu citanja.
U ovom triptihu sam se iz scena koje su sentimentalne, nalazila u grotesknim/humoristicnim situacijama i to prebacivanje njoj ide savrseno. Bas zna pogoditi vrijeme kad je dosta, pa ne iscrpljuje i ne umara... A prezentirati Babu Jagu koja je vjerojatno najzanimljiviji lik u slavenskom folkloru i sve opreke koje njeno bice nosi u sebi, kroz simbole koje prepoznajes i lovis u prici na nacin da promatras odnos majke i kceri ili odnos tri prijateljice ili odnos prema zenskom tijelu i starosti ili da ti samo u pricu upadne neki bas izrazito simpatican i zabavan lik ili da samo promatras ironizirajucu sliku likova... I da pritom mitska poetika ne prelazi u fantastiku, ali se zato ne osjecas manje fantasticno je bas divno.

Bilo je trenutaka u tekstu u kojem mi je zaskripala njezina ogorcenost, ali i britkost (sama patim od takvih ispada, pa lakse uocavam tude), ali sam svjesna da sam se nasla na njezinom poligonu i da je u vecini stvari potpuno u pravu. Ali sve se to poravna sa zavrsnim dijelom u kojem strucnije objasnjava sam lik Baba Jage i mitska mjesta u romanu koja su njenom liku posvecena. I ta paradigma Jage sa svim zenama svijeta mi je predivna i inspirirajuca. Bravo!
Profile Image for John V. Mirgnesie.
123 reviews38 followers
September 21, 2020
La metanarrativa de Ugresic en la que memoria, fantasía, viaje y ficción se funden en un derroche de diversión y perspicacia me recuerda a lo mejor de Sebald y Tokarczuk.

Es por ello que a estas alturas la croata se ha convertido en una autora de la que me apetece leer todo. Disfruté más de su Zorro, pero en esta ¿novela? sus virtudes siguen siendo las mismas: ingenio e ironía al servicio de la buena literatura. Otro cuento de cuentos en el que esta vez reinterpreta un mito del folclore eslavo como reivindicación de las mujeres intencionadamente olvidadas y la propia vejez.

Impedimenta, dame más de Ugrešić, por favor.
Profile Image for Dessislava.
222 reviews121 followers
March 5, 2019
Умело написан и чудесно структуриран роман, който ми беше любопитен, но не и приятен от читателска гледна точка.
Profile Image for Lectoralila.
214 reviews276 followers
April 12, 2020
«Baba Yagá es un ser femenino antropomorfo, una anciana hechicera, una bruja. (…) Algunos consideran que tiene (su nombre) origen eslavo (…) y cuyo significado aproximado es: mal, escalofrío, pesadilla, enfermedad. Baba Yagá vive en un bosque frondoso, o en el linde del bosque, en una cabaña (…) tiene una pierna de hueso, los pechos caídos, una nariz larga y puntiaguda (…) y vuela apoyada en un mortero ayudándose con un macillo y borrando sus huellas con una escoba.»

Sin proponérmelo llevo un par de semanas leyendo sobre brujas, ancianas, curanderas, baba yagá; mujeres. Siempre me han atraído este tipo de historias, en el formato que fuese. De pequeña leí mil veces “Las brujas” de Roald Dahl, y mil veces vi la película de Anjelica Huston. Me gustaba especialmente la parte en la que, una vez reunidas, se descalzan y enseñan sus pies cuadrados o sus calvas debajo de las pelucas. Recuerdo sus graznidos mientras se ponen cómodas, sus ojos brillantes. Incluso reviviéndolo en mi imaginación me deleito en esas escenas. No es de extrañar que en cuanto he tenido la oportunidad, me he tatuado la palabra «Hexe» (Bruja) en la mano.

El caso, y de lo que realmente os quiero hablar, es de “Baba Yagá puso un huevo”. El libro se compone de tres partes. Las dos primeras son dos cuentos independientes, y la última parte es una especie de ensayo sobre la figura de Baba Yaga en el folclore de Europa del Este. Es por tanto un libro muy completo. El cuento intermedio es el que más he disfrutado, también es el más extenso. En él conoceremos a Pupa, Beba y Kukla, nuestras protagonistas. Y si me lo permitís os contaré algo que he leído en la tercera parte del libro y que me ha gustado especialmente. Los tres nombres, que nos pueden sonar tan extraños, significan “muñeca” en idiomas como el búlgaro, el ruso o el macedonio. Incluso Wawa es muñeca en chino. ¿Por qué os cuento esto? Es sencillo en realidad. Durante nuestro cuento disparatado, divertido y curioso, iremos viendo migas de pan que la autora nos va colocando. [Sigo en Comentarios]

Nada es fruto de la casualidad, todo tiene un por qué, aunque en algunos casos no podremos saberlo hasta que no leamos el final del libro.

En los dos cuentos todos los personajes son femeninos y todos nos presentan diferentes realidades. Conversaciones descabelladas, situaciones divertidas, y una narración que nos va meciendo en todo momento. Dubravka ha escrito un libro original y muy trabajado. Un libro que da muchísimo placer leer y que te abstrae por completo
Profile Image for sevdah.
366 reviews60 followers
May 5, 2019
Много ми хареса. Трите части на книгата са напълно различни, но и трите са смешни, предизвикателни, умни, като лабиринт, който трябва да разплетеш. Не ми се искаше да свършват различните погледни към идеята за женското и колко мистично страшно е, към остаряването на жената и митовете за всичко това. Много е интересна и неопределима и като жанр(ове).
Profile Image for Ken.
2,164 reviews1,322 followers
July 14, 2018
I wasn’t aware of ‘Baba Yaga’ the Slavic folktale, but this modern take was still a fun read.

The book is made up of three stories, my favourite was the second that features three elderly ladies visiting a spar resort in the Czech Republic.

Ugresic style made for a fun read, I’m glad that I picked this book for Croatia.
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