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Der Tänzer

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,358 Ratings  ·  389 Reviews
"A Russian peasant who became an international legend, a Cold War exile who inspired the adoration of millions, an artist whose name was a byword for genius, sex, and excess. The magnificence of Rudolf Nureyev's life and work is known, but now Colum McCann reinvents this figure through the light he shed on the lives of those who knew him." Boldly embellishing the biographi ...more
473 pages
Published 2005 by Rowohlt (first published 2003)
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Elyse
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Dancer"......by Colum McCann is a breathtaking tribute the Russian Ballet dancer, Rudolf Nureyev...... I mean BREATHTAKING!!!!!

This book is a novel, yet Colum McCann took his inspiration from biographical facts from Rudolf's life.
WOW.... and what a story!!! Captivating....spanning over four decades.
The lyrically powerful prose is seductive....intimate....bigger than life...."dazzling"!!!!

Right from the start when 'Rudik' was a child in the Soviet Union ( 1941-1956)...we are transported back t
...more
Dem
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
" This is not a biography, it's a story, a novel, a tale. For a long time I toyed with the idea of calling it a false portrait" Taken from Colum McCann's interview online.

This is the story of the life of Russian Dancer Rudolf Nureyev and the people that surrounded him and for me it was the surrounding characters that took centre stage in this superbly written novel.

I have read a few of McCann's novels some I have liked better than others but this story from the first chapter where Russian S
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Chrissie
This is fiction, but based on the true life events of the famed Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993). Through fiction the author attempts to show readers not only the external facts of Nureyev’s life but also how he perceived his own life. We are not so much told his inner thoughts, motivations and feelings, but we watch what he does and follow the crazed, hyped celebrity life and the frenzied gay-scene that lead to his death by AIDS. He defected Russia in 1961. We see how this impac ...more
Michael
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is certainly one of the very best biographical novels I've ever read. Truly unforgettable portrait of Nureyev and his passion and artistic drive.
Matt

Very brisk and rather quickly read. I picked this up idly from a friend's bookcase after a night of drinking, since I love to sleep but don't like to surrender that easily, and got through the bulk of it in one extended recumbency (semester's over, not much to do, figure I'd tack another contemporary up while I've got the time). the narrative is ideally suited for this kind of thing. McCann writes with some distinct, succinct, almost punchy sentences which follow each other so fluidly that the r
...more
Janice
I debated over 3 and 4 stars on this one. The result of reading this book is that I am now fascinated with Rudolf Nureyev, the man. After finishing the book, I was scouring the internet for more information. That alone is an indication that the book had a big impact on me. But there were parts of it that I didn't care for.

What I liked about the book is that is wasn't just about Rudy, it was also about the settings (Russia, Paris, New York), the time period (WWII, Studio 54, emergence of AIDS), a
...more
Blodeuedd Finland
It's a fictional story about Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nurejev. From his humble and poor Tatar upbringing, to when he studied at the famous Kirov in St Petersburg, to his jump to the west where he was adored by royalty and celebrities. And to his ultimate fall, his love affairs which brings him to his deathbed in Aids.

My problem with real characters is that I always have to google them, so yes I knew that he defected (not like I wouldn't have otherwise, he was too big for Soviet), and that he
...more
Joseph
Aug 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess I'm just over the let's-analyze-a-genius genre, and have been for a while. I picked this up when it came across my desk at the bookstore, because I've loved other things McCann has written, but this . . . while it is undeniably beautifully written, and parts of it are quite compelling, it turns out he subject matter just didn't do it for me, and the main character -- real-life ballet superstar Rudolf Nureyev -- is such an irredeemable jackass that I had a hard time really caring about hi ...more
Marianne Timmons
Colum McCann actually wrote an entire chapter without a period! Now, that takes guts. Before you call the MLA police, let me at least say that it was effective and created a fabulous tone for the coked-up hustler of whom the chapter revolved. That being said, he also chose to go in and out of first and third person narrative and changed narrators often and sometimes without provocation or notice. This wasn't as successful in my opinion. I only say that because I get confused easily...I'm a blond ...more
Isidora
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
En biografi av Rudolf Nurejev-en av alla tiders största balettdansörer, eller snarare en roman om Nurejevs liv och konst. En rysk roman, egentligen, fast skriven av en irländare från New York.
Colum McCann skriver om den unge Rudik som dansar för de skadade soldaterna på sjukhuset hemma i Sibirien. Om nittonåringen som dansar på Kirovteatern i Leningrad. Om avhoppet till väst 1961, om alla år när han var en av de största stjärnorna och de mest omskrivna personerna i världen. Men även om hårt arb
...more
Gearóid
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and of course great writing from Colum McCann.
Barbara
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. He had me from the initial description of the Russian front and the building of the baths for the soldiers all the way through mid-70s gay life in NYC, a dancer's physical decline, and the end of several character's lives. I think McCann is an exquisite writer, and there were so many sentences that stopped me cold while I read the book, I had to re-read them, and then read them out loud to my companions.
I knew almost nothing of Nureyev when I started this book. I ha
...more
Joyce Williams
A disappointing read by one of my new favorite authors, Colum McCann. I was so looking forward to an in-depth and colorful account of Rudolf Nureyev, the defected Russian dancer who changed the world of ballet like Jordan impacted basketball. Because his story is told through the perspectives of those who knew him, Nureyev was left undeveloped and the author didn't explore what was going on in Rudi's head. I felt as though I never really understood Rudi's view-- what went into the decision to fo ...more
Lynne Griffin
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Reads like poetry. Another hit for Colum McCann!
Suzanne
Dancer is a work of fiction about the life of Rudolf Nureyev. I am a balletomane. I first became enchanted with the art form when I read a book about Vaslav Nijinski in high school. Then my aunt took me to see the Royal Danish Ballet perform Coppelia at NYC's Metropolitan Opera House. I was hooked. While I never got to see Nureyev dance, SHE did. And seeing Nureyev with Margot Fonteyn was the catalyst that ignited HER interest in ballet. Today my son is training to be a professional ballet dance ...more
Caroline Anna Bock
Colum McCann, admittedly one of my favorite writers (Transcontinental, Let the Great World Spin), wrote Dancer in 2003, and a new paperback edition with was on my library's shelves.
Dancer
I had never read this early novel of his—so I picked up the deckle-edged paperback, and I was blown away. This is the story of the great Russian dancer Nureyev re-imagined from his brutally rough upbringing in the Russian hinterlands (a city called UFA, where he grew up speaking Tatar), immediately after the rav
...more
Katerina
"Танцовщик" представляет собой полувыдуманную историю Рудольфа Нуриева, от эпизодов его детства в Уфе до блестящих полетов по всем мировым сценам. Сразу оговорившись, что пишет роман, а не биографию, автор, тем не менее, проделал большую подготовительную работу, прочитал, умница, много книжек и исследований и даже съездил в Россию (в благодарностях, например, помимо прочих, упоминается танцовщик Мариинки Илья Кузнецов:).

Известно, что я фанат балета и потому должна была полюбить эту книжку всем
...more
Madeline
1. I know only a little about Nureyev (if you want, you can watch him on The Muppet Show, among other things), but while I think more knowledge would have enriched parts of Dancer, I am glad that I didn't know too much. It's an odd kind of historical fiction, not quite a biographical novel, but like one: the differences between fact and fiction are blurry. I really liked that experience, and I think it made the book richer.

2. McCann mixes first and third person narrative passages very effectivel
...more
Gretchen
Beautiful!!! That is the word which best describes this biographical novel of Rudi Nureyev the great Russian ballet dancer who began life as a boy in communist Russia to later defect and live a glamorous life of opulence around the world. Rudi's story is told from the point of view of those nearest and dearest to him and while at times he seems almost completely unsympathetic based on his compulsive and diva like behaviors, the author strives to find his most human qualities and paints a beautif ...more
Charlaralotte
Feb 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Fantastico! A brilliantly imagined story about the life of Nureyev. Well-researched and well-written, with all the historical details to flesh out his journey from a small Russian steel town to the Kirov to defection to international fame and finally, the agony of the deteriorating body. Had an all-encompassing sense of historical events shaping the world and Nureyev's life that I wish McCann's more recent book, Let the Great World Spin, had reached. As with other writers, he won the Book Award ...more
Tim
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Colum McCann's novel on the life of Rudolf Nureyev, one of the most famous and lauded ballet dancers of the twentieth century, brings the biographical and the fictional into an intimate embrace.

We begin in the hellish snow-covered battlefields of the Second World War and over the course of 333 pages watch Rudi as he grows up in the struggle-ridden landscape of Cold War-era Communist Russia. His discovery, learning, and eventual mastery of ballet are a beautiful evolution, as is his transformati
...more
Evelina
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kolams Makkens ir sarakstījis vienreizēju un aizraujošu stāstu „Dejotājs”, kurš ir aizrāvis daudzu lasītāju sirdis. Grāmata ir biogrāfisks stāsts par krievu baletdejotāju Rūdolfu Nurijevu un viņa apkārtējiem, tuvajiem cilvēkiem, par mākslinieka dzīvi, ceļu uz panākumiem un traģēdiju. Sākotnēji stāsts risinās Krievijā, taču vēlāk tā darbības vieta mainās.
Stāstā „Dejotājs” galvenais varonis iet savu dzīves ceļu. Tā sākumā Rūdolfs Nurijevs ir mazs zēns, kurš dejo necilā būdā. Bet stāsta laikā viņš
...more
Bondama
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Colum McCann is a brilliant Irish writer who, fortunately for his readers, is a compassionate, vivid and above all, wonderfully adept at bringing his characters to a wonderful life.

"Dancer"if a biography, to my knowledge, McCann's first, Back in the early 60's., the first Russian ballet dancer to defect away from the dead cultural life of the 50's-60's Soviet Union, Rudolph Nureyev. Rudy was desperately, dirt poor, but despite everything he had going against him. Rudy's passion and unlimited tal
...more
Dorota
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Books about the Soviet Union are always fascinating to me. Scary but fascinating. Groving up in Poland, I distinctly remember my parents quiet conversations about politics, always telling us not to repeat anything and to be careful because "walls had ears". And Poland was nothing compared to USSR. There, you either supported your Motherland 100% and did whatever you were told at all times, or you were a traitor.

The book tells a story of one of their traitors, an iconic ballet dancer, Rudy Nurey
...more
Robert McCready
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I've had a love affair, or that I've spent a large portion of my life, loving a dancer who would never love me and detested my affection. It might not be love at all, but the projection of my feelings on a leader or a guide who can show me how to live an artful life. Anyone can start living an artful life if they only pick up this book. McCann has written semi-fiction, which I've seen before in a book called "Beautiful Ruins," and "Dancer" is based on the life of Rudolph Nureyev. And ...more
Bibliophile
Jul 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, fiction
Colum McCann's Dancer is a thinly fictionalized biography of the great Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, narrated by dozens of different people (some real, some fictional) who knew Nureyev at various points in his life. Nureyev was a fascinating and notorious man, but of course, the reason anyone cares about his life wasn't just that he was really good-looking and per Richard Avedon, hung like a horse :P It's that he was one of the great ballet dancers of the 20th century and one of the grea ...more
Suzanne Krueger
Apr 05, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I thought this was going to be about Nureyev, the great dancer/cheographer; instead it was mostly about his promiscuity and gay lifestyle. The story starts in war torn Russia, then post war Russia...if this part of the book was a color, it would be the color of dirt...gray, dismal and heartbreaking.
There is a brief description of early dance lessons and ascent of Rudolf as dancer and his subsequent defection...but from then on you are given to believe his life is one orgy after another. After aw
...more
Nika
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Dancer is amongst my most favourite books of all time. I myself had grown up during the Soviet Union and have danced ballet throughout my childhood, so perhaps this book hit a personal note, which had made the overall story very dear to me. With that said, I have read all of Colum McCann's books and he continues to impress with his opulent writing style, evocative detail and his astounding explorations of hidden corners of the human experience.

This is a fictional story, largely based on the lif
...more
Surreysmum
As the 3 stars say, I "liked it". I'm definitely ambivalent about fiction based on people who lived so recently; at least McCann had the decency to change the names of people still living (basically turning it into a bit of a roman-a-clef, whether he planned it that way or not), but I noticed that by and large the really major figures in the Western ballet world didn't get much more than an indirect word or two. Possibly they or their ferociously protective estates (Balanchine?) deterred the aut ...more
Chris
An advantage of the bad weather is the opportunity to finally finish this book; and a great excuse to neglect the growing list of jobs my wife manages to create with apparent ease.

Unlike Nureyev’s feet, I found myself dragging mine; hoping the next page I turned was the last. I almost volunteered to rake leaves off the lawn in the pouring rain, or decorate the kitchen again rather than struggle with the cast of twenty odd characters telling their story of Nureyev’s journey from Russia in 1940.
...more
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Colum McCann is the author of two collections of short stories and four novels, including "This Side of Brightness,""Dancer" and “Zoli,” all of which were international best-sellers. His newest novel “Let the Great World Spin” will come out in 2009. His fiction has been published in 26 languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Paris Review and other places. He has wri ...more
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“He's at ease, his body sculpted to the music, his shoulder searching the other shoulder, his right toe knowing the left knee, the height, the depth, the form, the control, the twist of his wrist, the bend of his elbow, the tilt of his neck, notes digging into arteries, and he is in the air now, forcing the legs up beyond muscular memory, one last press of the thighs, an elongation of form, a loosening of human contour, he goes higher and is skyheld.” 8 likes
“I could tell from Anna's face that she had already told him about dancing in Saint Petersburg and that the memory weighed on her heavily. What monstrous things, our pasts, especially when they have been lovely. She had told a secret and now had the sadness of wondering how much deeper she might dig in order to keep the first secret fed.” 3 likes
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