Dancerby Colum McCann
Taking his inspiration from biographical facts, novelist Colum McCann tells the erotically charged story of the Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev through the cast of those who knew him: there is Anna Vasileva, Rudi's first ballet teacher, who rescues her protégé from the stunted life of his provincial town; Yulia, whose sexual and artistic ambitions
Taking his inspiration from biographical facts, novelist Colum McCann tells the erotically charged story of the Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev through the cast of those who knew him: there is Anna Vasileva, Rudi's first ballet teacher, who rescues her protégé from the stunted life of his provincial town; Yulia, whose sexual and artistic ambitions are thwarted by her Soviet-sanctioned marriage; and Victor, the Venezuelan street hustler, who reveals the lurid underside of the gay celebrity set. Spanning four decades and many worlds, from the horrors of the Second World War to the wild abandon of New York in the eighties, Dancer is peopled by a large cast of characters, obscure and famous: doormen and shoemakers, nurses and translators, Margot Fonteyn, Eric Bruhn and John Lennon. And at the heart of the spectacle stands the artist himself, willful, lustful, and driven by a never-to-be-met need for perfection.
“A beautiful, floating novel about Nureyev's life and art.” The New York Times Book Review
“Exuberant and exhilarating . . . A brilliant leap of imagination.” San Francisco Chronicle
“The goal of a book like this is to catch the spirit of the person and his age. It's a tall order, and one that Dancer pulls off brilliantly.” The Seattle Times
“Fascinating . . . A triumph of voice . . . McCann's fluid lyricism brilliantly convey's Nureyev's towering professional achievement and the wasteland of his personal life.” Newsday
“A monumental life . . . Stylistically, Dancer is a leap itself.” Los Angeles Times
“An engrossing portrait of a man so complex that no mere biography could possibly convey more than a sliver of his personality. . . . The Nureyev who strides impatiently through its pages seems entirely convincing.” Terry Teachout, The Baltimore Sun
“Every sentence sounds new and beautiful, no matter how often it's read.” USA Today
“Dancer is the most breathtaking tribute to Nureyev since Jamie Wyeth's famous paintings.” Esquire
“Dazzling . . . an intimate portrait . . . Dancer is bigger than the dance, bigger than biography, too. . . . Relish McCann's dizzy, fascinating glimpse.” Miami Herald
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Read an Excerpt
Just when we all thought they were finished, a small blond boy stepped out of the line. He extended his legs, placed his hands firmly on his hips and hitched his thumbs at his back. He bent his neck slightly forward, stretched his elbows out and began. The soldiers in their beds propped themselves up. The boy went to the floor for a squatting dance. We all stood silently watching. The boy grinned. Some soldiers began clapping in rhythm but, just as the dance was about to end, the boy almost fell. His hand slapped the floor and broke the impact. For a moment he looked as if he was about to cry, but he didn't, he was up once more, his blond hair flopping over his eyes.
When he finished the ward was full of applause. Someone offered the boy a cube of sugar. He blushed and slipped it into the top of his sock and then he stood around with his hands in his pockets, rolling his shoulders from side to side.
Meet the Author
Colum McCann is the author of books including This Side of Brightness, Zoli, Songdogs and Let the Great World Spin. He has received the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, and was named the first winner of the Grace Kelly Memorial Foundation Award and the Princess Grace Memorial Literary Award. He lives in New York City.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
Colum McCann does an incredible job of taking perception from various characters in Rudolf's life, adding historical facts, mixing in some colorful flair, and creating a story that is difficult if not impossible to stop reading. I read non-stop and finished in one day, lent my book out, and am considering purchasing another because I didn't get it back. It is definitely a great read!
Moira Driscoll and Mark Honan are amazing in this book! Truly talented people! I love them!
It's not just about a great dancer his rise to fame, and his living but also about Russia just before and after WWII. The writing is good too!
In this novel we see what a talented, tortured, arrogant, manic person Nureyev was. Fascinating details about Soviet Russia and the world of ballet.
This is an outrageous book written in rapture.The story is developed beautifully .I read each page to see what was next and re read that page to enjoy the magnificence of the writing and the surprise of McCann's flight.Very entertaining.A GREAT BOOK !
This is an absolutely riveting book. The author's unique style plays a part in this - he switches point of view, tense, and prose style in rapid succession throughout the story. Nureyev's dancing was brilliant and compulsive - he danced nearly to the end of his life even when he was in serious pain. His charisma and volatility are magnificently portrayed in this fictionalized biography (sometimes autobiography) which begins in the horrendous conditions of Russia's WWII battlefields and ends with his reunion with the family he had not seen in decades. I had read an excellent biography of Nureyev about two years ago, and recognized some of the people in his inner circle, but some readers may be frustrated by the first-name-only identity of people dropped into the story throughout the book. Nevertheless, the story has a magnetic pull - I couldn't resist it.
Slunderous rubbish! Malicious insult to a great artist who is no longer here to defend himself.