Dance Lessons

Dance Lessons

by Aine Greaney
     
 
A year after her husband's death in a sailing accident off Martha's Vineyard, Ellen Boisvert bumps into an old friend. In this chance encounter, she discovers that her immigrant husband of almost fifteen years was not an orphan after all. Instead, his aged mother Jo is alive and residing on the family's isolated farm in the west of Ireland.

Faced with news of her

Overview

A year after her husband's death in a sailing accident off Martha's Vineyard, Ellen Boisvert bumps into an old friend. In this chance encounter, she discovers that her immigrant husband of almost fifteen years was not an orphan after all. Instead, his aged mother Jo is alive and residing on the family's isolated farm in the west of Ireland.

Faced with news of her mother-in-law incarnate, the thirty-nine-year-old American prep school teacher decides to travel to Ireland to investigate the truth about her husband Fintan and why he kept his family's existence a secret for so many years.

Between Jo's hilltop farm and the lakeside village of Gowna, Ellen begins to uncover the mysteries of her Irish husband's past and the cruelties and isolation of his rural childhood. Ellen also stumbles upon Fintan's long-ago romance with a local village woman, with whom he had a daughter, Cat. Cat is now fourteen and living with her mother in London. As Ellen reconciles her troubled relationship with Fintan, she discovers a way to heal the wounds of the past.

Deeply rooted in the Irish landscape and sensibility, Dance Lessons is a powerful story of loss, regret, and transformation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When New Englander Ellen Boisvert journeys to her deceased husband Fintan Dowd's seaside village in Ireland, she comes face to face with Jo Dowd, the embittered mother he once claimed was dead. Separate narrative strands of flat, present-tense prose focus on Ellen, Jo, and the now-teenage daughter Fintan had with his first love. As family secrets are gradually revealed, Ellen must reconcile the sometimes-violent man she knew with new perspectives. With its depiction of troubled mother-son relationships, follies of youth, the limited choices to be found in rural Ireland, and of consequences wrought by lies of omission, Greaney's second novel (after The Big House) depicts grief with trust in the reader's empathy. The author is able to capture emotional nuance with minimal flourish; her characters emerge as strong individuals confronting unexpected pain. Unfortunately much of the book exists to establish a background counterpoint, and Fintan himself remains elusive, this is a frank exploration of adult concerns.
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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780815609841
Publisher:
Syracuse University Press
Publication date:
03/28/2011
Pages:
261
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Born and raised in County Mayo, Áine Greaney is a writer and editor living on Boston's North Shore. She is the author of the novel The Big House and the short story collection The Sheep Breeders Dance. In addition, she has written several award-winning short stories and numerous feature articles for the Irish Independent, the Irish Voice, Creative Nonfiction, and the Literary Review, among others

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