The Last Dance: And Other Stories by Victoria Hislop
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a quirky little book which I picked up after a visit to Athens hoping it would capture some of the pretty Greek city between its pages.
Some of the stories have a bit of a moral to them particularly the Kafenion which tells the story of twin brothers who get an equal share in their fathers café but are forever jealous of the other and find it difficult to share.
The Periptero is another little story that holds a bit of moral within the tale, telling the story of a young flashy man who flaunts his money and wealth in front of an elderly newspaper kiosk owner who has learned the value of the little things. Will the young man get his comeuppance for his greed and vanity?
The writing in this book is often very beautiful and very evocative of Greek settings. For example:
“Manos worked through the night and with a giant can of white emulsion and a roller he swiftly covered the stained anaglypta. Soon the place was transformed. He repainted the bar in a bright blue and resolved to paint the frames of two chairs each night until they were all in matching azure. The effect was dramatic.”
All the stories are quite slow burning which is fine for a holiday read but just something people looking for a fast action page-turner should be aware.
Despite the book containing ten short stories all the characters were quite unique and a joy to read about. Of these, one of my favourites was Kyria Kakanidis from the story “The Lesson”. Her character was smart, humble, and overall very likeable. Well-portrayed by the author.
As I said this is a quirky little book.
I think it’s probably a 3.5 stars. It is slow and despite being short stories the author spends a long time on description rather than getting to the plot. Also, the stories have limited conversations so sometimes you get page after page of words without dialogue to break it up. This can be a little off-putting. However, the stories themselves are joyful. There is a well-thought out range of tales and I enjoyed the authors not with photos and inspirations behind the pieces.
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