Dance Dance Revolution

A searing indictment of the privileged Western attitude of westsplaining and looking the other way

In four magical realist storylines about the war between the fictional countries of Besulia and Tenebria, Lisa Weeda draws parallels with the Russo-Ukrainian war, which has been dragging on for almost a decade. Cynicism and indifference to what’s happening in war zones – that sums up the attitude of many people in the West. The characters in 'Dance Dance Revolution' don’t have this luxury.

Original title
Dans dans revolutie
Lisa Weeda

The title refers to the svabova samover zhenza, the dance that was once meant to keep the enemy at bay and can now bring the dead back to life. This dance is the only hope for the victims and survivors of the war in Besulia.

The various storylines are set two and a half years, two years and one year after, and four days before the start of the war in Besulia. People try to keep going about their lives as the enemy approaches their village. Some are tasked with the surreal responsibility of picking up dead bodies from homes and transporting them to special centers where they are stored until they can be danced back to life. Amid the madness of war, the dead soldiers Danylo and Maks are danced to life but have a hard time settling back into the land of the living. Toni has to pick up the dead bodies of children and Baba Yara, the village elder, teaches the svabova samoverzhenza to the other residents, wearing her ceremonial furry white suit, mask and headdress. Her young granddaughter Anna tries to use social media to encourage the rest of the world to get involved and dance with them – the only way the people of Besulia can be saved.

'This part is the hardest. Stomp your feet on the ground, hard, like you’re trying to break the earth into pieces. Then lift up your hands and feel there is an orange lying in them. Feel it, really feel it. In a moment, you will twist the orange in half and squeeze all the juice onto the land.’

A breathtaking debut about a young woman in search of the history of her Ukrainian family during Stalin’s Great Purge in the 1930s and in present-day, war-torn Ukraine.


Publishing details
Dans dans revolutie (2024)
240 pages
43,300 words
5,000 copies sold
Sample translation available

De Bezige Bij
Marijke Nagtegaal

Rights sold
Germany (Kanon Verlag)

Translated titles
Aleksandra: Czech Republic (Garamond), Denmark (Turbine), France (Le bruit du monde), Germany (Kanon Verlag), Norway (Cappelen Damm), Poland (W.A.B.), Rumania (Casa Cărții de Știință)

With her stunning debut Aleksandra, Lisa Weeda chronicled the charged history of a Ukrainian family – a story that has taken on additional urgency with the war.

Lisa Weeda
Lisa Weeda (b. 1989) is a Dutch-Ukrainian writer, literary programmer, screenwriter and virtual-reality director.
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