A shipful of charming tales – The Last Voyage of Sigismund Skrik by Karsten Flohr

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts


It’s 1879 and hairdresser extraordinaire Sigismund Skrik is to abandon the ship he has sailed on for many years, attending to the first class passengers to make their journey to the new world as stylish as possible. Now he is to move on to a steamboat – but his last voyage is full of story, adventure, intrigue, passion and plots as the various characters enter his salon and reveal their secrets…

I bought this on a whim from a deal on Amazon, and was pleased to find that I rather enjoyed it. It’s a short book made of the different character’s short stories woven together by Sigismund’s narrative, and the story of his own life which emerges between the chapters. The tales are bizarre, hilarious and full of love, drama, rivalry, romance, revenge and more.

I read the majority this book whilst waiting for an hour in a hospital for a blood test. And really, it’s the perfect book for that kind of thing; light hearted and easy to dip into and out of as the stories are quite separate.

Memorable ones include the twin brothers whose vines got burned down tending their remaining plants onboard, the strong-woman who has lost her appetite, the lady who found hair in her soup, and the girl who is still waiting for the lover she abandoned her home and family for.

Perhaps the most interesting story is that of Sigismund Skrik himself however; and I find myself thinking of hairdressers in a very different way now! This book is fun, light and easy to read, exploring the oddities of humanity from the privileged perspective of a hairdresser.

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