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Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  388 ratings  ·  67 reviews
In tango, there are no wrong turns. But every dance begins with a backward step.

Taking his cue from the tango, the acclaimed author of Mister Pip has written a thrilling and sensuous novel about how we fall in love.

Ranging from rural New Zealand during the final days of World War I to Buenos Aires at mid-century to the present day, this masterful novel intertwines two love
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 2001)
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Feb 17, 2009 Judy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Laurel, Kim, Barbara, Jane,Mitzi, Alberta
What a beautiful fabulous book. I read it in a day. I could so vividly see the characters dancing their tango.Jones portrays the star crossed lives of two characters and the weaving in of others connected. Wonderful book. Highly recommended.
This book is written with the timing of the tango, that weaves it's steps and history through the narrative. It is slow, seductive and beautiful, partnering the long history of Louise and Schmidt with a short lived affair between Rosa and "Pasta". It speeds up and slows down, with tantalising little flicks of story, in no particular order and without any sense of premeditation. I loved it.

Lionel is working in Rosa's restaurant as KP, nicknamed Pasta, and late one night, she starts teaching him t
After reading and loving "Mr Pip" years ago, I was looking forward to re-entering Lloyd's fictional world. The beginning half of this book was compelling and promising. I even googled the three Tango artists mentioned and listened to some of their music as I read. However, the "music died" in the book and the dance lagged. The characters were not fully developed and the shifting time line more distracting than workable. By the end of the book, I'd stopped "dancing."
I love this author! Such a beautifully crafted book with real symmetry. The book move between New Zealand and Argentina and links the character Rosa with her grandfather in Argentina. Lionel tells the story of his love for the enigmatic Rosa and all the time there is the dance, the tango, and the possibility of passion. Such a good writer.
This slender book is a tango -- a blending of a young man's attraction to his employer's grace and fire as they dance together in a closed restaurant with the stories of her grandfather and his love, long ago. Lloyd Jones is a master at creating beauty with ordinary words.
I found this book to be rather charming in many ways. I liked reading about the characters throughout the three generations of Rosa's family and how vital the Tango was in their lives. I especially liked Rosa's spunkiness and Lionel's naive, youthfulness.
One thing that surprised me was how the author of this book, who happens to be male, portrayed the males in this book as rather passive and the females as the active, strong decision makers. Part of me was impressed that he made that decision
Ignore the blurb.. which makes this gem of a novel seem rather ordinary. This is the best book I've read in months and raises Lloyd Jones into my personal pantheon of favourite writers! I adored it. Redolent of Garcia Marquez the characters and their intertwining stories, like the tango which threads them together, are deftly drawn each of them quirky, fascinating and humane. I started this book on a Sunday morning, in bed with a cup of tea and finished it this afternoon on the sofa. Wonderful, ...more
I can't say I particularly liked this book. At one point I was even going to put it down, then it got interesting for a while, so I had to complete it. Because there were two story lines, a person in the present is describing the love story of some people in the past, I sometimes got confused about who was who and their relationships. I also got confused by the seasons since the story was set south of the equator. I had not grasped that fact early on and was picturing absolutely the wrong settin ...more
1916 in Neuseeland die junge Louise und der Klavierstimmer Schmidt müssen sich im Verborgenen halten und zum Zeitvertreib tanzen sie Tango und kommen sich dabei näher. Doch das Schicksal ist nicht auf ihrer Seite. Viele Jahre später treffen sich Louise und Schmidt in Buenos Aires wieder. Louise hat sich gerade von ihrem Mann getrennt und Schmidt hat geheiratet und erwartet ein Kind. Wieder bleibt den beiden nur der Tango.

Zwei Generationen später lernt Rosa, Schmidts Enkelin, den Studenten Lione
Two longish short stories for the price of one wasn't what I was hoping for, especially since they were essentially the same. They were both "quiet." Prettily written. Neither of them quite satisfying. The attempt at marrying them seemed strained and made the resulting "novel" bulky enough but lacking in substance.

The affair between lovers of differing ages and cultures was poignant, more so with Jones' brilliant translation of music into prose for the background. For me, however, a backstory t
I've been a little taken by tango lately. No I've never danced it. So when I saw this cover at Big Lots with a bunch of other trade paperbacks for $3 each, I naturally picked it up. The story and settings (New Zealand/Argentina) are very interesting and the writer's style is very matter-of-fact, much like a woman who snaps her fingers and exclaims, "I need to dance!" Some moments are tender as the main character explores generational family history, and many others are awkward due to the subject ...more
The flashbacks in this book are what make it so beautiful. The present day story, however, is too predictable and seemed to be just the intermission when there came a break in the story of Schmidt and Louise.
Once in a while a randomly selected book off the shelf becomes an instant favorite. This highly imagined story by Lloyd Jones is one of those. Jones examines the threads that bind people together over generations. The thread of dance, specifically the tango, ties Louise and Schmidt together. The same thread gently binds Rosa, Schmidt's granddaughter and young Lionel. Loyalty and love; filial responsibility and independence. The end of the world is Argentina and Australia and the main characters ...more
This is a wonderful story, wonderfully written. It has so many layers to it: the tango, the relationship between people, who could not be together, the history and the two countries Argentina and New Zealand. Very rich.
Success! I feel caught up! Book 3 is Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance by Lloyd Jones. First good thing about it: it's SHORT - 275 pages. I need more books this length. Any suggestions?

Next best thing about this book: everything else. It was outstanding. And so, so sad. Not crying on the couch sad, but when I closed the book, I felt a heaviness in my heart, and I said, "Wow." So it's THAT kind of sad. I cared about the characters and the changing geography and timeline... and it rea
Robert Wechsler
Jones' novel is marred by its frame. At the start of the novel, the interaction of story and frame are unnecessarily confusing. But, more important, there is too much frame, and the narrator in the frame is simply too uninteresting compared to all the other characters. What is a well-written novel could have been a much better novel with a more narrow frame, just enough to get the story told. It’s almost as if Jones wanted to show off what he could do, and make something more than a realistic no ...more
I think I am a Lloyd Jones groupie. This book is a story of the relationship Schmidt had with his long time girl friend, Louise, and their love of the tango which is how they fell in love and continued a clandestine relationship until Louise died. The story is told by the Schmidt’s granddaughter, Rosa, to her boyfriend. Lionel, who is the narrator in the book. In their way Rosa and Lionel’s relationship mirrors that of Schmidt and Louise. But the book captures the passion of the tango in a way t ...more
Feb 26, 2010 Maggieg rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Maggieg by:
After reading Mr Pip I was looking at other books by this author and this title particularly intrigued me. I love to dance and even though I've only had one Argentinian tango lesson (I'm well versed in ballroom tango,though)I could still appreciate the subtelies and nuances of the dance as described in the book. I wonder if the author is a dancer himself. He obviously knows a lot about the music. I visited Buenos Aires a few years ago and found it fascinating. I would love to go back for some mo ...more
'Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance’ I picked it up because I found the title intriguing! Though not about Tango, Lloyd Jones effectively connects the characters in the book through the Tango. And as the story unfolded, I found myself emotionally connected to the main characters in a way that, to say more, would be as much a spoiler as going too much into depth. What I can say without giving anything away, is that he left me wanting to read more of his works, and wanting to learn to ...more
While the book comes to an end a bit too abruptly I loved it, and not just because it has a strong dance storyline. Such an interesting and different way of delving into the characters lives and a much more interesting way to approach the subject of romance in my opinion. It took me a chapter or two before I understood and was able to follow the multiple storylines that are laid out in a manner that hops from one time in history to another, but once I caught on I was hooked.
Jennifer Hughes
I picked this up off the "new books" display shelf at the library. It was in among books about dogs, so I actually thought it was going to be fiction for dog lovers. It was more like a weak romance novel (with no dogs!).
Call me old-fashioned, but I don't see romance in two generations of infidelity. (It's supposed to be charming that it happened in a similar way in the next generation--between a 19-year-old boy and a 36-year-old married woman! Heebie-jeebies!) Don't bother.
Steven Langdon
This is a good book, a complex mixing of two fated love affairs two generations apart, set against the rugged backdrop of NewZealand. "Mister Pip," Lloyd Jones' most recent novel is so superb that this book suffers in comparison -- its characters are less credible than in "Pip," and the protagonist, Lionel, seems too immature to deal with the context in which he finds himself. But Rosa, who links the generational gap, is vivid, passionately alive and superb. ...more
Larry Hoffer
I found this book enjoyable, if not earth-shattering in any way. At times I found the story amazingly compelling, if a bit sad, and at times I found the story veering into places I didn't really care about. (Not to mention I found some of the narration a bit confusing as well.) Ultimately, I'm glad I read it, as the characters were pretty affecting. And of course, I want to go watch "Strictly Ballroom" or some other movie where there's lots of dancing now.
Lloyd Jones also wrote: Mister Pip (shortlisted for the Booker) which is well worth a read.

Here at the End of the World, begins in New Zealand in wartime. Louise hides in a cave with two Quaker boys and Schmidt, a dancer. At the end of long, empty days, the four return to dance in the cave. This thread of obsession weaves through two generations: bringing people together to tango, falling in love in the time of a single dance, and parting them again.
Bob George
Learn to Tango; learn to love. I enjoyed the views across time; across Southern hemisphere countries; Lloyd Jones is so easy to read and arresting expressions "days it was too hot to linger"; the forward and backward movement in the relationship between the older Rosa and her employee "Pasta". A lot of the sadness in Mr Pip also present here too; the ending quite a let down
Ruth Harding
This book was just like watching the Tango, it weaved in and out of history, love and hope. The story of a 20 something's hope that the love he so desires will come his way. The scene is set in a place familiar to me and I loved every description, even though the places might have never existed. I throughly enjoyed this book, a romance ill never forget.
I just started this yesterday, and found out that half the book is set in Buenos Aires... seems appropriate! I loved the previous book by this author (Mister Pip), so am looking forward to this one.
Unfortunately, this novel was quite a disappointment - a lot of style, and not a lot of content. No comparison at all to Mr. Pip!
This was fairly light reading. It was a romance across time. I especially liked it for the tango---both a part of the story, and a metaphor for love. I am a tango afficianado , and chose it for that reason alone. The fact that he was an award winning author, and endorsed by Isabel Allende, helped me decide to give it a try.
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Lloyd Jones was born in 1955 in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, a place which has become a frequent setting and subject for his subsequent works of fiction. He studied at Victoria University, and has worked as a journalist and consultant as well as a writer. His recent novels are: Biografi (1993); Choo Woo (1998); Here At The End of the World We Learn to Dance (2002); Paint Your Wife (2004);and Mister Pi ...more
More about Lloyd Jones...
Mister Pip Hand Me Down World The Book of Fame A History of Silence: a memoir Biografi: A Traveler's Tale

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“Quiet had a roof and it had walls around it, and you could sit inside it. She had never thought of silence as a place.One of the friends, Tom Williams told her,'the place is in your heart, Louise. Everything else is just clutter.” 6 likes
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