4 out of 4 stars
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The Dancing Barber is a Historical fiction which is largely comedy. Almost thirty years later after the Great Famine of 1933, the Ukrainians finally have a voice, the Mysterious Voloshin whom nobody knows his location (except Klem) and who has "resurrected" twice, having supposedly been struck with the Cyanide tipped umbrella by the Soviets on two occasions.
In Bradford England, between Easter Friday and the Feast of St. Patrick, a series of events occur in Taras' family (House) where Klem is an occupant in his attic. Klem finally has his thirty years of hardworking published proving that the collectivisation program of 1933 was Stalin's way of eliminating the Ukrainian problem; Taras (called Tar Arse by the Urchin) starts up the ladder of Fame after the successful portrayal of Swan lake where the Bishop's buttocks gets shot accidentally when he plummeted through the trap door while trying out a pirouette on stage; Halyna (Taras' wife) gets a visit from her twin sisters (the Ugliest trolls in the universe), who for reasons stated in her letters to them believe they live at a beautiful manor house, and Sophia (Taras' daughter) finds out that Oksana, her worst enemy is her cousin. Events could not get anymore exciting when they are paid a visit by the "Bishop" demanding the whereabouts of Voloshin.
One of the endearing things about this book is that it's not the usual "Western" storyline, the Ukrainian background (early 90's) is a nice change of diet. The author completely captures the reader with his play with words, and at no time are there unnecessary details. The ingenuity of the author in using general names like gossipmonger, flatcaps, headscarves, to classify the minor characters solves the problem of having to keep tabs on an ever increasing list of names. The "Ukranish English" which was carved out for Zena and Lenka spices it up even more. In all, the storyline is beautifully written, the characters are so real and it is the best comedy I have read in a long while
Throughout the book, I only spotted one grammatical error and I can say that this is a book that was thoroughly edited. Because this was not just a great book to read but was also professionally edited, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
I believe this book will appeal to everyone who enjoys reading comedy. I would also add, anyone who loves reading a wholesome book and having a good laugh while at it.
The Dancing Barber
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