A Bolshevik Christmas, by Yoel Bereket

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Yoel Bereket for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

While the season may not be entirely in keeping with the book’s subject, I was happy to take on this challenge by Yoel Bereket. The reader is taken into the middle of the political insurrection as far north as one can go, with ideological sentiments strong on both sides. While Santa Claus has been working in the North Pole for some time, he is not entirely up on all the work his elves have been doing. Poor conditions and long hours seem to be draining these vertically challenged workers and breeding a degree of discontent. When a ‘foreigner’ appears amongst the elves, he riles them up to strike and demand new standards. Named Red Elf, he leads a group of the elves to see Santa Claus with a set off demands, though they are rebuffed as soon as the ideas are placed before him. Refusing to take no for an answer, Red Elf leads an insurrection and topples Santa, forcing him into exile and creating the People’s Republic of the North Pole, now led by the Soviet puppet Nikolas Sokolov. As news spreads, US President Kennedy is irate that the Soviets have made this incursion and taken over the seemingly neutral North Pole. It’s the height of the Cold War and America cannot be seen as lax. When a elf-based attack to take back the North Pole fails miserably, Kennedy wonders if he should be sending in troops, but remains leery of anything that might cause a nuclear confrontation with Moscow. Meanwhile, Sokolov pushes his elves to the brink, as December 25th is fast approaching and the new communist spin on the Christmas holiday must be shared with the world. When children wake, there are no dolls and toys, but rather live ammunition and guns to arm the citizens of the world in the fight for the communist collective. Media outlets scream and President Kennedy vows that this has gone on long enough. Working with some of his senior officials, a plan is put in place to strike hard and fast. Meanwhile, the lustre of the communist collective may be fading among the working elves, especially with a divine entity makes a surprise appearance and speaks of a new future. An interesting piece of humorous writing, Yoel Bereket will have readers smiling as they read this political piece. Recommended to those who love some lighter reads during the holidays, as well as the reader who enjoys some Cold War tongue-in-cheek political drama.

I tried to keep an open mind when Yoel Bereket approached me with this piece. A communist takeover of Christmas sounded a little far-fetched, but when I took it as a humorous political novel, I was fully committed. The story was quite cute in that gritty way that something poking fun at Christmas and the Cold War clashes had to be. Bereket works the political and humour angles well, keeping the reader involved in the struggles on both sides of the ideological aisle. Placing things at the height of superpower tensions in the early 1960s adds a faux drama that makes the clash a little more interesting. With a handful of key characters on both sides of the fight, Bereket leaves the reader to wonder how much of this is ‘what if’ and where possible truths might have stemmed, had this been sixty years ago. With short chapters that keep the story moving forward, Bereket never loses the reader, even when talk of ideology takes centre stage. Political drama meets humorous depiction keeps Bereket’s work entertaining and on point, making it an easy read for anyone who wants to take the plunge. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and will likely add it to my annual holiday reads, as that time of year needs a little humour amidst all the chaos of shopping an spiking the eggnog!

Kudos, Mr. Bereket, for this great piece of humorous holiday fiction. I’ll have to check to see what else you have written and try it out for size.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons