Sophia's Reviews > Dancer
Let the Great World Spin led me to Colum McCann’s earlier novel Dancer. Based around Rudolf Nureyev, the celebrated Soviet ballet dancer who defected in 1961, I found Dancer to be akin to literary storm chasing. Those expecting a thorough fictionalized account of Nureyev’s life would be disappointed; he is like a whirlwind whose aftermath is the author’s real interest. The story is told from multiple perspectives, including those of his first ballet teacher, her daughter, his family and servants, and Victor, a homosexual Venezuelan hustler-friend and it is more about how Rudi affected them. McCann’s extraordinary ability to mix different styles, voices, and tone greatly enhances the kaleidoscopic effect of the whole. It is also a look at the times he lived through, from the frozen Soviet front during World War II to the decadent living of 1970s and 80s New York. Although not as interconnected and emotionally raw as his later work, Dancer was an impressive read.
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