- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Dancing Backwards: A Novel Hardcover – August 3, 2010
|New from||Used from|
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
Special offers and product promotions
After the death of her second husband, Violet Hetherington, formerly the poet H. V. St. John, embarks on a transatlantic cruise to visit an estranged friend in New York. While the ship pushes westward, Vi recalls bittersweet memories from the late sixties that led her to chose security and marriage over friendship and poetry. Meanwhile, the ship’s passengers prove to be a mix of strangers who help Vi rethink her past and welcome the possibility of a happy future. The story of Vi’s past is significantly more interesting than the somewhat redundant narrative aboard ship. Hetherington’s development as a poet and her love of culture brings to mind scenes from the 2008 movie An Education and the autobiography of the same title by Lynn Barber. Vickers’ sixth novel, though uneven, offers satisfying reflections on memory, loss, and love. --Heather Paulson
Praise for Salley Vickers:
“If you enjoy the work of Marilynne Robinson, Penelope Fitzgerald, James Salter or Anita Brookner, you should be reading Vickers.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
The writing never really describes her outright, you have to read on to discover a hint of her age and who she is, which is an interesting style. However there seems to be little sympathy generated for this almost curmudgeonly character and her relatively bland lifestyle and background, despite the fact that when she was younger she was an award winning poet. We see no real poetry in her essence or life.
The story line skips back and forth between the present, mainly her time on the ship during the crossing and her life in college when she met her first husband and the friend she is going to visit in New York and that can be a bit confusing to a reader. Violet has a frosty quality and the writing is somewhat cold too, including the description of the Statue of Liberty as they enter New York Harbor," the blank eyes and uncompromising face ". It was just hard to generate any sympathy or interest in this lady or her story.
I recently heard Salley Vickers speak at the Perth Writer's Festival and heard her read from Dancing Backwards. This isn't my favourite of her books (my favourite is Miss Garnet's Angel) but I did enjoy it. What I love about Salley Vicker's writing is that she creates characters that are all normal, everyday folk dealing with everyday, normal situations. She describes them and their experiences with such insight and compassion, I think it can be said that she truly understands the human heart. I have to say that I intensely disliked the young Violet, she is so passive and such a conspirator in her own abuse it made me want to slap her (I know this is actually a critical part of the story, but really it was almost unbearable). Thank god for her inner voice telling her all the things I wanted to tell her! But I really liked the older Violet, and loved watching her inner transformation unfold and the self understanding and acceptance that she develops. This is a very gentle and subtle read, and I think everyone could find some part of the characters they could relate to.
The book is an easy and pleasant read; the main characters are suitably complicated; but I miss the depth of the author's earlier novels.