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Dance on My Grave Paperback – October 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Amulet Paperbacks; 1 edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810972611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810972612
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,292,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Clever and imaginative--vividly creating the atmosphere of summer in a seaside town and the intensity of adult love." --The Evening Standard --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

During the summer of the compulsive attraction between Hal Robinson and Barry Gorman, Hal's curiosity with death leads the boys to enter a pact. Whoever dies first, the other must dance on his grave. Aidan Chambers masterfully traces the relationship from friendship to overwhelming obsession in a commanding, ruthless, roller-coaster ride of narration. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Maya on March 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
I first came across this novel in my eighth grade year at school. It had been the first homosexual novel that I'd ever read, and I found it both surprising and satisfying; it was a coming-of-age story about a pair of young men who happened to meet by chance of fate during the summer vacation and ended up spending several weeks together.

Hal seems much more committed to the relationship than Barry, who acts as though his time with Hal is merely an exciting fling. And one morning, Barry, filled with exhilaration, makes Hal promise that if one of them dies, the other must dance on his grave. For Barry to ask such a daring thing of Hal only serves to further arouse Hal's interest and he becomes more obsessively committed than ever, for he had always hoped to find the ideal, "bosom" friend, and he feels that Barry must certainly be "the one".

Dance on My Grave was like nothing I had ever read before, and admittedly, the novel seems targeted more towards a British audience and someone unfamiliar with British terms may have to reread certain parts several times to fully understand the book. But I have remained forever attatched to this book, for it evoked such emotions in me as I had never felt before. You can't help but feel sympathy for Hal, who, for his whole life, has been searching for the perfect friend and lover but could never find anyone that fit his ideals... until he met Barry.

The lesson of the desperate, clinging obsession that comes with true and unconditional love in this story seems to be like the young adult equivallent to Joseph Olshan's Nightswimmer. I highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Raymond Mathiesen on September 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Hal Robinson is sixteen, has just finished his school exams and has no idea what he wants to do with his life. Will he stay on at school? If so what will he study? Or will he get a job like his father wants? Hal lives at Southend, the part of London where the Thames River meets the sea. One day he 'borrows' a friend's sail-boat without asking permission. A storm blows up and soon Hal capsizes the boat. Then into his life sails Barry Gorman, eighteen year old, expert sailor, who rescues Hal and who it seems will soon sort Hal's life out. Soon Hal finds himself falling deeply in love with Barry, and it seems his every fantasy is about to be fulfilled. But, as Hal reveals at the very beginning of the book, Barry's life is destined to be cut short.

This book is written in a quirky, interesting, experimental manner. The text consists of Hal's first person account, six "running reports" by Hal's social worker, two newspaper clippings, and a school essay. The personal account features "action replays" in which Hal goes over the scene he has just described filling in the psychological details that could not be included in the flow of action. One important theme to arise is the 'postmodern' question of how much a written account mirrors reality? Hal desperately wants to be honest, but no matter how much he tries his words fail to describe the true 'feeling' of events, or can be interpreted in a way that varies from the 'truth'.

While being an account of a death the book is often surprisingly funny. I found myself laughing out loud in several parts. Grief, however, inevitably takes the main stage at the end of the story, and is represented in some considerable depth.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I originally ran across this book in the "young adult" section of the library, but I think it is just as rewarding for adults as it is for teens. The author has a wonderful flair for language, and the story is poignant and engaging. If you enjoy this, I'd recommend checking out the other books in this series... they don't share characters or story, but they do share certain thematic elements, as well as the author's unique style. My personal ranking for the series (from most favorite to least favorite): 1) Dance on My Grave, 2) Postcards from No Man's Land, 3) Now I Know, 4) The Toll Booth, 5) Breaktime... I have to admit that I haven't yet tackled This Is All.
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By Tas on March 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I have read in quite a while. I recommend it to my friends without reservation.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mel on May 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this book a couple of years ago and I havent been able to forget about it. It was a great story of two young men who fall in love and find their lives turned around by their situation. I recommend it to anyone looking for something out side the norm!
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