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Quotes are employed around the word ICONIC in the headline of my review because the hero of Alex Riggle's satirical book is a lovably cantankerous Orthodox priest: Father Vasiliy Vasilievich, pastor of Saints Boris and Gleb and Vladimir and Olga Russian Orthodox Church in Sydney, Australia. That job-description alone gives you an immediate glimpse of the wit awaiting readers. Moreover, the book's titular exclamation is Father Vasiliy's signature "line", which he utters almost without fail when asked to comment upon some fictional hullabaloo or happening across the orthodox world. One of the funniest aspects of the use of this line is that Father Vasiliy can modulate his perfunctory indignation: at times he merely sighs or grumbles or flatly delivers the words "Is outrage!" as if the grounds for outrage are as obvious as the nose on anyone's face. How dare anyone fail to recognize the outrage?
This stylistic flair is just one of the many reasons the book is a joy to read ... and to savor. The work is actually a compendium of articles featuring Father Vasiliy culled from Alex Riggle's popular blog, "The Onion Dome," which ran from 2002 until 2010. There's no question about verisimilitude, here: Riggle is a devout Orthodox convert who brings both an insider's key perspective and a convert's enthusiasm to his riffs on the humorous facets of orthodox Christian life and practice. Each article plays-out like a brief news story about some occurrence in the orthodox milieu, usually based in America, and the Onion Dome's "intrepid reporter" (ostensibly Riggle himself) is on-the-case to get the scoop.Read more ›
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