Maybe it’s small, my territory, but inside it I can still love what in front of me with all the heart I have left.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter weaves a fantastical story of a talking doll, night incarnate, a witch who runs a department store, and severed arms that behead “shoplifters.” Retelling the Russian folktale, Vassilissa the Beautiful, Vassa enteres a BY’s department store one night for light bulbs and finds herself on an unimaginable mission to save her life and survive the evil witch who manages the store. Porter stays true to the original story but uses ingenuity to modernize the tale. Vassa is a relatable, endearing character with a heart as pure as any fairy-tale hero. Porter’s language sends me whirling through a mirror image of our world where the nights can last for days. This was a lovely fairy tale to read and something I never knew I wanted till I found it!

One thing I know from my own experience: beauty doesn’t make anybody into a whole person.


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