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Ludmila's Broken English    by DBC Pierre order for
Ludmila's Broken English
by DBC Pierre
Order:  USA  Can
W. W. Norton, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

DBC Pierre's eagerly awaited second novel, Ludmila's Broken English, has rocketed onto the scene. It is the sharp tale of Ludmila - a teenaged mail order bride seeking to escape the destitute Soviet province of Ublilsk - and 33-year-old English twins.

When conjoined twins Bunny and Blair Heath are surgically separated, their lives quickly turn upside down. After spending years living in Albion House, a public care facility, the men are cut free after privatization. The twins are released into a world, 'churning with opportunity, rowdy with the chatter of freedom, globalization, self-empowerment. Sex.'

Blair Heath, the physically stronger of the twins, makes repeated efforts to meet the woman of his dreams. His attempts end in misery and failure each time. Bunny, the more mentally grounded twin, foresees Blair's efforts leading them towards impending disaster. While the twins' personalities are vastly different, underneath their squabbling is genuine need for each other, as if their bodies and organs were still entwined.

In contrast to the Heaths' lives, Ludmila Derev and her family are struggling to survive in war torn Ublilsk. She escapes the province to find a job, only to become a mail order bride. It doesn't take long for her picture to attract Blair Heath's attention. Soon he and Bunny are on their way to meet Ludmila. It's not long before the trio find themselves staring down the barrel of a gun and fighting for their lives.

Pierre's Ludmila's Broken English hurtles toward a conclusion that is both shocking and sensational. The book is filled with sharp prose, wry humor, and gut wrenching action. Taking place in post-terrorism London and in war-torn Soviet lands, Pierre's tale highlights the feelings of isolation and the need for human contact in today's increasingly disconnected world.

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