Saturday, July 14, 2012

(96)The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey

The Crane's Dance

Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Pages: 384

I am envious of people who can dance.  I don't just mean petrople who look good dancing at weddings or clubs, I mean people who can flawlessly perform beautiful art like Swan Lake or The Nutcracker.  The phrase "Dance like no one is looking" was written for me. Often times I wish that I had the skill or coordination to dance with such ease, but alas, I am stuck watching from afar.  The Crane's Dance was getting a lot of buzz this past spring and I knew it was about dancing, but I had no idea how dramatic the story was going to be.

Kate Crane is an extremely talented ballet dancer who finds herself virtually alone in New York City at a very tender age.  Her whole life is dancing and as she ages, she struggles to stay relevant in a world where younger is almost always better.  Enter her younger sister, Gwen.  She joins Kate in New York City and not only is she younger and beautiful, but she is also very very talented, causing an insecurity in Kate that she has never experienced before.  Kate starts to notice that Gwen's tenuous grasp on reality is slipping at a rapid pace and she is forced to call her parents for help.  With Gwen gone Kate is forced to deal with the guilt she feels for destroying Gwen's dream, she struggles between knowing that she did the right thing and feeling relief for having the spotlight all to herself once again.  Will Kate let the guilt eat her alive or will she find some peace in the choices she has made?

I was a bit surprised at how fast paced The Crane's Dance felt to me. From almost the beginning when Kate is describing Swan Lake to the uneducated reader (like myself). The voice of the narrator, Kate, seems almost manic.  We first meet Kate after Gwen has returned "home" and is refusing to speak to , text, or communicate in anyway with Kate.  As the story goes on Kate flashes back to the events leading up to Gwen's eventual breakdown and we see the complexities of their relationship as well as the pressures of being a successful ballet dancer.  It was really interesting to read.  The behind the scenes aspect was also very neat to read.  Not that I know very much about the world of ballet, but I always find it interesting to read "behind the scenes" stories.

Bottom line -  The Crane's Dance is a good book for anyone who dreamed of being a ballerina as a young girl.  You can live vicariously through Kate without having to give up your couch potato status.  (Thank God).   There is a discussion guide with the book to help facilitate what is likely to be a lively discussion within your book group.   Has anyone else read The Crane's Dance?  What did you think?


Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I absolutely loved this book. Aside from the ballet parts, I am a complete perfectionist myself, so I could easily relate to Kate. As you said, it's a quick but intense read.

Laura Hartley said...

I love all things to do with dance so I'll have to check this out - thanks for sharing! :)

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