Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey

I threw my neck out in the middle of Swan Lake last night.

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.


This is probably the best book I’ve read so far this year. I received an advanced copy from NetGalley and I am counting the days until its release date so that I can buy a copy for myself.

It is about two sisters, two ballerinas, focusing mainly on their relationships and the way that dance affects both their lives. It’s hard to put into words the beauty of this book. It is not only the plot, which is intricate, with twisting veins leading the reader back and forth through time. It is the writing that is absolutely astounding. At first, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy the narrator’s voice, since it’s abrasive, sarcastic, sometimes self-pitying, but the more I read, the more I came to enjoy the way she looked at her world, the things she felt. She is a fantastic unreliable narrator.

I can’t say enough about the intelligence in every line of this book. It is the kind of writing that makes you want to reread every sentence and suck it dry for meaning. It is such a lyrical novel, yet so human and real. I cannot recommend this book enough. You NEED to read it, so put it’s release date on your calendar and run to buy a copy.



1 comment:

barklesswagmore said...

Just added to my wishlist! Thanks for the review.