Title: The Cranes Dance
Author: Meg Howrey
373 pages, published May 2012
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
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 who is struggling to keep her place in a very demanding world. 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.
Alone for the first time in her life, Kate is anxious and full of guilt about the role she may have 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.
Let me start this reviewing by giving a disclaimer: I've taken all types of dance classes for the majority of my life, so the fact that this is a dance book means I'm almost guaranteed to love it and be a bit biased. You've been warned! I absolutely LOVED This book!!!! It was hard to put down and I was sad when it was over.
What I loved most about this book was how accurate it was. The author CLEARLY knows a lot about dance! For example, there was a part in the book where Kate describes in detail the beginning/warm up part of a ballet class. No matter where you take class and what level you are, you ALWAYS start with plies at the barre, followed by tendus, degages, etc. She explained the intricacies of the dance world with such clarity and it was so spot on. Now, if you're not a dancer like me, this wouldn't matter as much to you, but to me, it was so refreshing to read a book about dance that was so accurate.
I also really loved Kate as a main character. Perhaps it was because of my dance background I related to her so well. Or because I too am always anxious. Whatever the reason, I loved reading her story.
If you're a dancer like me and looking for a great dance fiction book--read this one NOW. And if you know of any other dance books that are this accurate and wonderful, let me know! Even those who aren't dancers will love this book too. Such a great read!
Overall rating for "The Cranes Dance": 5 stars