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The Next Step in the Dance
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The Next Step in the Dance

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  380 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Bringing the same light and gentle understanding that he did to the story collection Same Place, Same Things, author Tim Gautreaux tells the tale of Paul and Colette, star-crossed and factious lovers struggling to make it in rural south Louisiana. When Colette, fed up with small town life, perceives yet another indiscretion by the fun-loving Paul, she heads for Los Angeles
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 15th 1999 by Picador (first published March 1st 1998)
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Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a slow burner of a book. Beautifully written and realised characters, both major and minor. The first third of the book is sketchy in detail as the story feels like it is being rushed. From about page 100 onward it hits it's stride as you feel the writer has gained confidence in what he is trying to say. Alternatively, being that the first third of the book is predominantly set in the "foreign" environs of LA, we don't get much settled detail of the characters and place.
This is a beautif
Shan Walks
Oct 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I keep coming back to. I've bought several copies of this book to have and to give away. Tim Gautreaux is the most unappreciated writer I know. His words flow along like a river. His character development is an example all writers should follow. His plot lines are current, solid, and believable. He always teaches me something about the history of the South. (and I grew up there!!) if I ever become a college professor, his works will be required reading in my classes.
Jayne Charles
Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Set in the swamplands of Louisiana this is the story of Colette, a highly determined and ambitions bank employee and her husband Paul, who is quite happy with his life as a machinist and has no ambition beyond being able to go to a bar and have a beer and a dance after work. It begins with Colette catching Paul out with another woman, and the reader's assumption is that he is a habitual philanderer. However I was surprised how quickly I realised my sympathies were largely with Paul, and despite ...more
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This book surprised me. The adage of judging books by covers rings true with this one! I received it as a secret Santa present in 2014 and the back cover's blurb totally put me off. It sounded like standard chick lit. I felt bad for not reading it since it was a present, so I decided to get it over and done with.

How wrong was I! The blurb on the book's jacket covers about the first 80 pages and completely disregards the 300 pages that follow. The story was endearing, and not because of any love
Jul 23, 2009 rated it did not like it
Somewhere recently I read, "Read anything by Tim Gautreaux." Although passionate about Louisiana, I'd never heard of him. Hence, Next Step. First irritation was sloppiness. Where are editors today? The author uses a word or phrase that stands out, for example, "varnish." Three pages later he uses it again. Thesaurus, anyone? It doesn't appear later, so what could have been an image that moved the novel forward if used sparingly becomes a bull's-eye for the reader's red pencil. Southwest Louisian ...more
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Tim Gautreaux's debut novel is a fine romance set in Tiger Island, Louisiana. Colette and Paul Thibodeaux have been married for about a year when Colette gets restless and dreams of a world bigger than the "small muddy pond" that they currently reside in. She leaves Paul and moves to California, and Paul reluctantly follows. The story moves somewhat slowly in the beginning, but quickens its pace after they leave California (with Paul having gotten Colette pregnant) and return home to their now-i ...more
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it
As a south Louisianan, I appreciated the authenticity of Gautreaux's debut novel, but having read his later works, "The Missing" and "The Clearing", this one disappointed me. The two main characters were a bit cartoonish in my opinion; brawls do not incessantly break out; and men do not wear hardhats to the bar. Yes, if you are not from here, one could easily be charmed by how beautifully he captures turns of phrases, the accents, and more - and that charm might distract the reader from a formul ...more
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Picked this book up on the bargain table - what a pleasant surprise!The beautifully crafted language managed to convey a mood of life in 1980's Louisiana, much of which was unfamiliar to me. The main female character was a bit hard to like at times - I understood her need to improve her live but she was quite hard hearted to those who loved her. A lovely story
Oct 31, 2008 rated it liked it
This book was okay. I loved the patois of the minor characters, and the setting was great. But the central relationship left me a bit cold. I felt the wife was completely unsympathetic and I couldn't like the husband as much as I wanted because he went along with her craziness. Overall, average.
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a simple and straight forward tale, but for some reason, I couldn't put it down. The characters are intriguing and realistic, and the struggle that they face is an interesting part of history that is not really touched upon in books. This novel is definitely worth a read, even if it doesn't take you long.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I expected to like this a lot more than I did. It was beautifully described and there was a great sense of place, unfortunately I wasn't very interested in the people in that place. I found the two main characters just a bit annoying.
Jan 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: powerful-writing
An early work by an author whose work I've come to love. The characters come from a singular place in America, and their experience trying to live elsewhere is universal, as is their struggle in relationships.
Jan 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Paul and Colette are married and descended from long lines of Frenchmen on Tiger Island, LA. Wonderful descriptions of the landscape, food, people, relationships, bars, and the poverty. Life lessons learned: family, home, and culture are most important.

Couldn't put this down.
Lisa Farrell
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Dithered between 4 and 5 stars here. As it's a first novel I was kind! I love Gautreaux and how he creates a vivid sense of place. This was a slow burner but had me gripped for the last 180 pages. I'm only saddened that I have no more novels to read by this writer...until he writes a new one!
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this in college b/c it's set in Louisiana - where I'm from, and I loved it then. That was over 10 years ago, and I have grown much since then, in what I enjoy reading. Therefore, I have no idea if this book is good literature or not, but I greatly enjoyed the story at that time in my life.
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not often a story draws a tear to the eye.
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it
A nice, quiet story, compelling in it's own way. I would definitely read another book by this author, but three stars for this one mainly because of the ending.
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Best Gautreaux yet, don't know why I passed it up earliier, thanks to Lee for re-recommending it
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.
Jane Vincent
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A great read with a wonderful sense of place. My relatives come from southern Louisiana and the language,the close knit family ties, and isolation of the area are spot on.
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Simplier style than later novels. Good story!
Jul 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is wonderful! The story keeps you interested and there is a winsome sweetness in all the characters. It's very real and a fun read, but with depth. Enjoy!
Jan 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Fun, quick read. It made me homesick for Louisiana. Gautreaux nails the lingo, culture and people.
Aug 01, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this based on the strength of his short stories and was kind of disappointed. I think if I read this first, I would have liked it -- his short stories are just amazing
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
A very unique plot that was engaging and memorable. This book deals with sacrificice and trade-offs, key themes for me.
Jun 17, 2008 rated it liked it
It was a creative, entertaining book about a love that never gives up. The setting was in the bayou in Louisiana which I found very interesting.
Jul 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
I paid only $1.99 for a hardback copy of this book, and I'd like to have my money back. Unless you're interested in the intricate workings of machinery, swamp rats, and rednecks, skip this one.
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
A little slow to start, but by the halfway point I couldn't put it down and finished in one sitting.
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
At first I thought this was a man's book with all the descriptions of the machines etc. the main character could repair and I was ready to put it down. But then it grabbed me and was quite a story!
Feb 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Good characters, good pacing, great read. He's an engaging storyteller.
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Timothy Martin Gautreaux (born 1947 in Morgan City, Louisiana) is a novelist and short story writer who lives in Hammond, Louisiana, where he is Writer in Residence at Southeastern Louisiana University.
His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Best American Short Stories, Atlantic, Harper's, and GQ. His novel The Next Step in the Dance won the 1999 SEBA Book Award. His novel The Clearing won the
More about Tim Gautreaux...