This retelling of the classic story of Sleeping Beauty is certainly not for children. It begins with the hero Ivan, born in Ukraine, learning for the first time that he is Jewish. Once communism has ended Ivan's parents decide to move to America. Before they leave, Ivan goes to visit some relatives in the country. While playing in the woods he sees a beautiful woman asleep. Scared, the young Ivan runs away.
Years later, Ivan is an American citizen writing his doctoral thesis on russian fairy tales. He returns to Ukraine for research and stays with his relatives. While taking a walk one day, Ivan sees the young woman asleep again. Impulsively he kisses her and she awakes. She introduces herself as Princess Katerina and she insists that they are in great danger.
She brings a confused Ivan home with her, explaining along the way that she had been put under a spell by the witch Baba-Yaga, a stock figure in russian fairy tales. And as Ivan says, "only a fool would want to live through the russian version of a fairy tale". Ivan soon realizes that Katerina has taken him to a fairy tale world where Katerina is heir to the throne and that Baba-Yaga wants to rule and is still out to get Katerina. Once again in danger the couple return to Ivan's time, where they have modern weapons, and Ivan's mother who they soon learn is also a witch but a good one, and the arch enemy of Baba Yaga.
This report prepared by fran laniado