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The Cranes Dance (Vintage Contemporaries Original) [Kindle Edition]

Meg Howrey
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $4.96 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

 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.

Editorial Reviews


“A page-turning narrative…Howrey captures the intricacies of an ambitious and thwarted ballerina dealing with the weight of her younger sister’s success in the same field.”

“An engrossing novel about the cutthroat world of New York City ballet, without the hallucinations…The Cranes Dance is an addictive, absorbing take on competition and sisterhood. B+”
Entertainment Weekly (Must List, 5/18)

"The Cranes Dance holds the door open to the candy store—the sacrosanct world of ballet—and I couldn’t be happier for the privilege.  It’s fresh and often hilarious, sharp and adroit.  Finding out who’s behind that stage curtain, really behind the curtain, makes for utterly engaging reading.  I love this novel!" —Amanda Boyden, author of Pretty Little Dirty
“Howrey’s engaging new novel exposes the competitive world of professional ballet through Kate Crane, a charmingly sarcastic ballerina at a crossroads. . . . Kate is an ideal guide to an unfamiliar world, from her irreverent explanations of her ballets (Howrey was a professional dancer) to her relatable self-doubt and honesty. Her revelations about family, talent, and what makes us special create a thought-provoking and entertaining read.” —Publishers Weekly

“Witty, sharp and exhilarating. . . . A tale of sibling rivalry, youthful ambition and dreams lost and found.” —Susan Fales-Hill, author of One Flight Up  
“With its universal themes of ambition and competition, sisterhood and sacrifice, it will appeal to bad dancers as well as balletomanes—an addictive, readable delight.” —Caroline Weber, author of Queen of Fashion

“Playful and smart, Meg Howrey’s fresh voice unveils an eye opening tale about the secretive and obsessive world of ballet.” —Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire

About the Author

Meg Howrey was a professional dancer and actress. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1307 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307949826
  • Publisher: Vintage (May 15, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0064C3334
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #316,226 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Cranes Dance April 17, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Kate Crane is a soloist at a prestigious New York ballet company. It's almost but not quite the culmination of her life's dream. She's not a principal -- that went to Gwen, her younger sister. In case you don't know, a principal is the highest rank in a company. Principals dance the starring roles.

But Gwen is back home with their parents, recuperating from a mysterious breakdown. Kate is living in Gwen's apartment and slowly going mad. After she throws her neck out doing Swan Lake -- a serious injury that she covers with Vicodin and ice -- Kate pirouettes her way into a tailspin of doubt and destructive behavior.

Kate isn't sure if she's responsible for Gwen's dive off the deep end. I don't want to spoil it for you, but once you learn about some of Gwen's "symptoms," including obsessive compulsive behaviors, the catalyst for the novel is predictable. "The Cranes Dance" starts off after Gwen's breakdown, and there's a fair number of flashbacks about the sisters' past. Should Kate have seen it coming? Should she have done X? Should she have done Y?

I understand sibling rivalry very well, but Kate's focus on Gwen eventually irritated me. It got to be a bit much, and I wanted to skip over those passages and get back to the dancing. Happily, there was a lot of that. I've read a few books recently that are supposed to be about ballet, but there's practically nothing about ballet in them. "The Cranes Dance" delivered well on that aspect, and with the author's past as a dancer, it's believable and realistic, too.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sisters' Rivalry in the Ballet March 23, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Kate Crane is a principal dancer with a New York City Ballet Company. She's tough, out-spoken, and needy. After a neck injury, she discovers her sister, Gwen's, stash of Vicodin and starts to develop a habit. She's just broken up with her boyfriend and her parents, at Kate's request, have taken her sister home to recover from what are apparently psychotic breaks. Kate thinks she did the right thing, but can she ever be sure? She has felt for many years inferior to Gwen as a dancer. Did she want her out of the way?

The book is devoted to Kate's thoughts: coming to terms with her past, her relationship with her sister, and perhaps most of all, her devotion to ballet. In the story, she questions all of these things and eventually comes to a resolution.

The action centers around a prominent New York ballet company and gives us a glimpse of what it means to be a featured dancer. I found the details very well done. It's obvious that the author knows what she's writing about.

If you're interested in the ballet, this is a wonderful book. You feel that you're living the life of a ballerina. However, I found the angst about her relationship with her sister overdrawn and tedious. Sibling rivalry is a reality, and I can appreciate Kate's emotional problems, but I thought there was too much emphasis on her inner demons and not enough action.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Cranes Dance September 7, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Kate Crane and her sister, Gwen, are professional ballerinas. Both sisters feel the pressure of their profession, but Kate is left alone after Gwen has a nervous breakdown. Even though Gwen is away recuperating, Kate still feels preoccupied with the closeness that binds her to her sister, almost as if her absent sister is an albatross. She is riddled with guilt and questions reality. Kate is obsessed with worries about her sister. She also starts to experience problems of her own.

This book is fun, because Kate, the main character, speaks directly to the reader. In this way, the author really brings the reader into an intimate relationship with Kate and the other characters.

I enjoyed this book very much, because I have always been very interested in ballet. I savored all the intimate details about ballet and Pointe. I wonder, though, if someone who is not as interested in ballet, would enjoy this book as much. The characters were well developed and likeable and the book was well written, but there is not a tremendous amount of excitement and tension within this plot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I'd hoped June 19, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. The story revolves around Kate and Gwen Crane, two sisters who are part of the same top New York City ballet company. In a way, the sisters are rivals, but in other ways they are each other's biggest supporters (as is the relationship with most sisters on the planet, I guess). Kate is the narrator of the story, who details behind-the-scenes drama at the ballet company and her sister Gwen's psychotic nervous breakdowns. I love ballet and very much enjoyed all the dance elements of the book. The narrative style of the novel is also very original: honest and amusing and ironic. The author has a distinctive voice and I very much enjoyed the writing style of the book. However, it totally dragged in parts, and Kate's character really started to irritate me after a while. (Stop whining! Stop pill popping! Get with the program! Sheesh.) I really thought I'd like the book more, and was disappointed that I had so many issues with it. I think if you are interested in the ballet world even slightly, you'll enjoy this book at least somewhat. Otherwise, you may want to skip this one, sadly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Story never got interesting.
Published 1 month ago by Dianne H.
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Humorous Tale of Ballet
Picked this novel up on a whim while on the road, and have to admit I really enjoyed it. Told from the perspective of Kate Crane, talented ballerina and older sister, the book... Read more
Published 3 months ago by The Book Bird
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely beautiful
The Cranes Dance is now one of my favorite books. I had a hard time stopping once I started. Kate as narrator, with her ability to see the world of ballet clearly and poke fun... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Colleen Augustin
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Bought for my library book club and this book tells of the pressures that come with a career in ballet. How creative people are many times also emotionally fragile. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Diane
4.0 out of 5 stars black swan redux
Well done ballet novel of the intensity of that life. Intense, dramatic psychotic. Makes you appreciate / abhor the choices!
Published 10 months ago by Elena
5.0 out of 5 stars Life labyrinth
An in-depth look at the world of art, dance, and relationships the book is really a story of the complications a young career woman struggles with in today's culture. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Margaret J. Light
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Plot has been done many times. Good resolution to the story. When can we have a story of normal people who love to dance?
Published 13 months ago by luluko
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling, character-driven read
I was extremely impressed with Meg Howrey's writing. Her prose is highly readable but never simplistic. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Writergirl
4.0 out of 5 stars dance, competition and sisterhood....
I really enjoyed this book. I must say, I have always enjoyed movies/books, etc. that have a dance theme and danced growing up, so I was especially drawn to this book about two... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Colleen M. Schneider
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent ballet novel
I really enjoyed this book for both the "ballet world" it was in and the portrait of a woman in depression.
Published 20 months ago by Joy
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