I told him to check back with me in a few months, and hopefully then I would have the time to read and review his book. I received the book a few days ago, and when I looked at the book cover, which was quite colorful… And the type of cover one might expect in a book with illustrations… I didn’t know what to think. The title didn’t really help with my first impression, “A Bolshevik Christmas,” but let me tell you after reading the first few pages I was hooked.
Mr. Bereket’s writing is clear and lucid. The type of writing that is all too familiar with me being an Agatha Christie fan, but which I do not see nearly enough from many authors. His characters, especially that of the Red Elf, Soviet strongman Nikolas Sokolov, and a fictitious President Kennedy, are superbly detailed, charming, and quite frankly scary.
The story takes place in the North Pole, as one might suspect, in the early 1960’s when the Cold War was at its height (Mr. Bereket’s knowledge of history is quite impressive, even though it is mostly used as satire). Santa’s elves are overworked, underpaid, and working in horrible conditions trying to meet the Christmas deadline, while Santa sits comfortably in his office admiring pictures of his wife and him on vacation.
Suddenly, the Red Elf, a communist spy, shows up at the factory, and stokes the elves’ frustrations with their terrible working conditions and lives, and persuades them to the overthrow Mr. Claus with the promise of better lives and equality. They rebel and overthrow the not so jolly Mr. Claus, which leads to a confrontation between the United States and Soviet Union.
An unsuccessful, Pay of Pigs, style attack is orchestrated by the United States and the exiled elves, still loyal to Mr. Claus, are sadly killed and imprisoned trying to take back their homeland. The Communist takeover of the North Pole is now complete, and immediately the communist go back on all their promises and the conditions revert back to as bad as they were under Santa Claus. I will leave it at that, and only say that the ending is a real surprise.
Mr. Bereket has used satire in a way that even the great Lord Byron would be impressed with. He spares no one, the traditionalists, capitalists, communists, so on and on. This a very impressive piece of writing and I highly recommend “A Bolsehevik Christmas.”