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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
The Dancing Barber by AC Michael is a novel with powerful historical hints about a Ukrainian who was able to survive and even escape the worst of the cruelties of the Soviet communist dictatorship. This story is set against the backdrop of the Soviet Union under Stalin. The horrors of the gulags, the inescapable suffering to which millions of people were subjected, seemed to have been spared him. But when he thought he’d left the monsters behind and has settled to a quiet life, he is suddenly awakened to reality thirty years later by a visit from “friends” from his past; it seems like being Ukrainian was a curse from which one never finds an escape. Taras has to face an unforgiving enemy from his past and this time will he be lucky enough to escape?
AC Michael is a good storyteller with a sharp sense of humor and, even in the midst of terrifying and gruesome circumstances, the author still succeeds in putting a smile on the faces of his readers. Readers can’t remain indifferent to the powerful characters featured in the story, like Taras, Voloshin, and Klem. The writer has masterfully integrated historical elements into the tale of a man who discovers at the end that he can run away from dictatorship and his worst enemies, but not from himself. The different levels of conflict explored in this spellbinding story are deep and will intrigue readers at every turn. The plot is intense, fast-paced, and at every stage of the story the readers’ interest only gets stronger. Lovers of historical fiction will undoubtedly enjoy The Dancing Barber. I loved it. The author's voice came out naturally and clear.