I threw my neck out in the middle of Swan Lake tonight.
So begins the tale of Kate Crane, a soloist in a celebrated New York City ballet company. Kate is struggling to keep her place in a very demanding world, a world she can’t help satirizing even as she balances injury and self-doubt to maintain her place within it. At every turn she is haunted by her close relationship with her younger sister, Gwen, a fellow company dancer whose career quickly surpassed Kate’s but who has recently suffered a breakdown and returned home to Michigan.
Alone for the first time in her life, Kate is anxious and full of guilt about the role she played in her sister’s collapse. As we follow her on an insider tour of rehearsals, performances, and partners onstage and off, she confronts the tangle of love, jealousy, pride, and obsession that are beginning to fracture her own sanity.
Funny, dark, intimate, and unflinchingly honest, The Cranes Dance is a book that pulls back the curtains to reveal the private lives of dancers and explores the complicated bond between sisters.
©2012 Meg Howrey (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Smart, witty, and wise, Meg Howrey’s impressive debut novel is a beautiful story that in its subtlety speaks to the fundamental questions of identity and love.” (James Lapine, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, on Blind Sight)
“A warm and surprising debut.” (New York Times on Blind Sight)
“From The Red Shoes to Black Swan, Hollywood has provided unforgettable portrayals of the ballet world’s grisliness as well as its glamour. At last, The Cranes Dance brings this enchanting world alive in literature but with tremendous wit, flair, and psychological insight.”(Caroline Weber, author of Queen of Fashion)
Beautifully written story, excellent detail, believable characters.
Depth of characters and dramatic tension kept me engaged all the way through.
Main character (narrator) had a wonderful mix of insight and blindspots.
Would love to read more from this author.
I wanted this story to be about a dancer's collapse as seen from the vantage point of her sister, but really it's a collection of musings on the acquisition and maintenance of a professional dancer's life, and the collapsing dancer is just a backdrop lowered onto the stage. It's all very dull after the initial presentation of mood and nuance enhanced by pill-popping. It mills about, wandering aimlessly, looking for some sort of direction but all the while going nowhere.
The book does present an elaborate picture of all the maintenance involved in being a professional ballet dancer, with the time actually devoted to performance occupying only a fraction of any given 24 hours, what remains of the day.
Engaging slice of life drama about Kate, a New York company ballet soloist dealing with a neck injury, the lack of her ever-present sister, and the guilt that maybe her sister's predicament is partly her fault.
The book starts you out in present day, but the story dips into flashbacks as Kate experiences something that triggers a memory. As the book goes along, my hunger to know the whole story grows with each tantalizing bit of information. At the end, I was so engaged with the characters that I wanted more. It does end rather swiftly, but not in a bad way. I feel like it mimicked Kate's sudden jerk out of her downward spiral pretty well, though I did wish for more details on the aftermath.
If you don't like slice of life books, following around one person during their day to day lives and privy to everything going on inside of their head, then you probably wouldn't like this book. I found the dip into a ballet dancer's life interesting, but it is a repetitive and constant backdrop in the story for those who aren't interested in the subject. It also deals with the same day to day air the topic of dependence on pharmaceutical drugs and mental illness.
The narrator was a fantastic for this book! She matched Kate's sardonic speech perfectly, with bored sounding overtones switching to passionate outbursts in perfect sync with the character.
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