The astonishing Orange Prize-shortlisted debut from the author of `Flying Leap' and `Nice Big American Baby'. This is a truly strange and striking tale that begins in the deep, and deeply magical, European forest, in the world depicted in Chagall's paintings and Grimms' Fairy Tales, and proceeds to tell the story of four generations of women from one fated family. Budnitz builds her book with wit and art somewhere in the gaps between magic realism, family saga and female bildungsroman. She marries great technical skill to quirky humour and dizzying metaphor. She has an uncanny knack for the destabilizing and indelible image, but does not abandon sense for sensibility. She is always readable, albeit strangely so. She might yet be an Americanized heir to the throne left vacant by Angela Carter.