Title: Vassa in the Night
Author: Sarah Porter
Pub Date: September 2016
‘[…]I suddenly understand, I do want to be Vassa – or technically I want to make Vassa into somebody worth being. The only way to become that somebody is to live in a real, substantial world: a world that doesn’t follow orders, that’s just as willful and independent as I’m going to be. I can only become a whole girl in a place that offers resistance; a place that makes me fight for what I want.”
Vassa is living in Brooklyn that she describes as the most ordinary and boring place on earth, the only thing that is making her days a bit more colourful are her dyed purple hair. This world might seem very dull for Vassa, but it’s not your regular Brooklyn. She lives in a world with magic, even if she’s not exactly calling it that way. At the beginning of the book we learn that something happened to the Night, she lost part of herself and now nights seem to last much longer than normal. Vassa and her two sisters can go to sleep, wake up when it’s still night, have breakfast, watch some old black and white movies, go back to sleep and finally wake up in the morning. Night hours seem to drag very slowly, and no one knows why. Vassa also has a very close, special friend – a wooden talking doll! It’s a gift from her late mother. What is even more bizarre about the Vassa’s Brooklyn is that there is a shop that is located on chicken legs! Yes. You read that correctly.There is a grocery store that is sitting on chicken legs and it’s dancing, and if you want to get in, you have to sing a particular song that will convince the shop to kneel down and let you in. Also, in front of the store, in its parking lot are pales with heads on them. Real human heads, some of them decayed. Those are heads of people that were caught stealing in the shop….As you can imagine, when I started reading a book I often had to reread some passages because I was not sure if this was really what I read. After I while I got used to it, and I was able to accept anything unusual, and there is quite a lot of strange stuff going on.
The main plot is packed in three days during which Vassa ‘works’ in the creepy shop. She found herself in a very unfortunate situation that ended with the shop owner proposing her a deal of staying in the shop and working there at nights for three days. She cannot leave the store; the parking lot is as far as she can go. There is so much that is happening during those three nights. And it all makes Vassa realise who she is, and who she want to be.
It is an amazing story! All the characters are very well built, I can see their motives, what is driving them to act like they do. All the action and world is described in great detail, it just grabs you in the world of the book. It is a dark, weird, surreal story that is great to read.