Sarabande is a novel presented mostly through the rapid-fire interactions of the characters in one-on-one situations or in small groups. Most of the novel revolves around the male protagonist, the journalist Pavlo Dudnyk, who takes his schoolhood friend Sara Polonsky as his second wife.
Sara, who blossomed from an inconspicuous overweight adolescent into a vivacious woman, used to mock him in school with the nickname “Underbutt” for his bony derriere that always needed padding on the classroom chairs. When Pavlo moves in with Sara, he doesn’t realize at first that he’s also “married” into her extended family, Sara’s band of Polonskys, with their myriad quirks and manifestations of peculiar behavior.
The novel presents a number of small slices of life and is filled with lively repartee. There are many comic moments, and the novel is saturated with a great amount of word play and humor. It gives the reader a good deal of insight into the everyday lives, loves and tribulations of Ukrainians living today.