LONGLISTED FOR THE 2017 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE!
Three neighbouring villages on the Ukrainian/Romanian border are the final refuge for the last of the mythical creatures of Eastern Europe. Now, on the eve of the war that may eradicate their kind—and with the ruthless Night Police descending upon their sanctuary—they tell their stories and confront their destinies:
- The Rusalka, the beautiful vengeful water spirit who lives in lakes and ponds and lures men and children to their deaths;
- The Vovkulaka, who changes from her human form into that of a wolf and hides with her kind deep in the densest forests;
- The Strigoi, a revenant who feasts on blood and twists the minds of those who love, serve and shelter him;
- The Dvoynik, an apparition that impersonates its victim and draws him into a web of evil in order to free itself;
- And the Bone Mother, a skeletal crone with iron teeth who lurks in her house in the heart of the woods, and cooks and eats those who fail her vexing challenges.
Eerie and unsettling like the best fairy tales, these incisor-sharp portraits of ghosts, witches, sirens, and seers—and the mortals who live at their side and in their thrall—will chill your marrow and tear at your heart.
Praise for David Demchuk
“The Bone Mother’s power is the realization that the supernatural beings are not the only source of terror. Oftentimes the most horrific and shocking acts are performed by ordinary humans driven to do the unspeakable, either out of desperation or their own dark urges.”
—Woman Around Town
“Well crafted and significant in its own right, Demchuk’s novel seems all the more important in light of recent displays of far-right and overt Nazi hatred. As one narrator says, ‘Some stories need to be told time and again. Every generation forgets. Every child learns anew.'”
—The Globe and Mail
“This extraordinary debut novel crosses borders and boundaries, stretching across continents and years in a series of interwoven stories and vignettes…. Demchuk gracefully pieces together a dark and shining mosaic of a story with unforgettable imagery and elegant, evocative prose. These stories read like beautiful and brutal nightmares, sharply disquieting, and are made all the more terrifying by the history in which they’re grounded.”