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The Cranes Dance (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – May 15, 2012
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“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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
The Cranes Dance follows Kate as she starts getting the chance to play a more prominent role in the ballet company as she struggles with an injury of her own, as well as questioning about her talent and her own mental toughness. Her relationships with her friends and mentors are fraught with unspoken tension caused by one issue or another, and she finds herself torn between wanting Gwen to recover and return to New York City, and not wanting to have to be her sister's keeper any longer. This book gives a warts-and-all glimpse into the ballet world, the different personalities that occupy it, and the passions that drive it. (Meg Howrey was once a professional dancer, so her authenticity rings true.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Howrey's writing is not "my style" but her story kept me riveted. I enjoyed how we learned about a person who is never actually given voice and how a person who loves her... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Andrea Vespoint
I had just finished "Astonish Me", which was also about ballet and it was just OK. "The Cranes Dance" was recommended reading...so I gave it a shot. Read morePublished 3 months ago by JudyPov
The world of prima ballerinas is a mysterious one that few of us can ever hope to understand. This fascinating look into their rarefied world of discipline, ritual, superstition,... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Marianna Steriadis
Well written story set in world of ballet with focus on relationship between two sisters as they negotiate the stress of a life in that career. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sharyn
Balletomanes will appreciate the accurate, self-ironic depiction of professional dancers. The behind-the-scenes descriptions and tongue-in-cheek renditions of classical ballet... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Loves way too much
I usually don't take the time to write a book or write a review, but this one was definitely worth taking the extra time so that other readers could enjoy it as well.Published 8 months ago by Robyn Randolph
Great story and well-written book about the lives of two professional ballet dancers in New York City. I have so much respect for these dancers, suffering for their art. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Andeera
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 morePublished 21 months ago by The Book Bird