The Next Step in the Dance

The Next Step in the Dance

4.3 3
by Tim Gautreaux
     
 

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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

Overview

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, with big dreams and Paul in tow. Paul's attempts to draw his beautiful young wife back home to the Cajun bayou, and back to his heart, make up a tale filled with warmth, devotion and majestically constructed scenes of Southern life.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Gautreaux chronicles the Louisiana landscape with loving precision and insight. Every sound, every smell, is just right . . . This is both an elegy for a disappearing way of life and a celebration of enduring values.” —Susan Larson, The New Orleans Times-Picayune

“This is a mighty first novel, told with cinematic grip. With it, Gautreaux himself takes the next step in the moody, sweet dance of Southern literature.” —GQ

“A smartly turned-out first novel, about the push and pull between a young Louisiana couple, that holds you snug and won't let go.” —Entertainment Weekly

Kirkus Reviews
An entertaining and immensely likable debut novel, set mostly in Louisiana's southwestern Gulf Stream area, from the talented Gautreaux (stories: Same Place, Same Things, 1996). When beautiful and brainy Colette Jeansomme marries good- looking Paul Thibodeaux (who's also a terrific dancer and the best damn mechanic in the pair's hometown of Tiger Island), their friends are sure it's the perfect match. But Colette tires of her unfulfilling bank teller's job and can't tolerate Paul's enthusiastic participation in the cult of Saturday night fistfighting or his habit of dancing (and, she suspects, enjoying further intimacies) with other womennot to mention his perfect satisfaction with his job ("He has no ambition," she complains. "Fifty years from now he'll still be knee-deep in machine oil"). Threatening divorce, Colette flees to California, followed soon afterward by the contrite yet still feisty Paul. More complications in their stormy relationship, coupled with the inability of each to adapt to West Coast work- and life-styles, send them separately back to Tiger Island and a succession of crises (including Colette's encounter with a cottonmouth moccasin and Paul's perilous adventures both with an overheated boiler and a shrimp boat caught in a storm) that end with the two back where we know they've belonged from the beginning: together, whether they drive each other crazy or not. Though it's more than a little overplotted, Gautreaux's pitch-perfect account of the Thibodeauxes' bumpy road to love is powered by abundant energy and charm and by a townful of vividly rendered supporting characters (Paul's laconic reality instructors, his father and grandfather, lead a memorableparade of locals). And the story is set in a workingman's world that's fully, credibly, and (to the nonmechanical reader) sometimes even confusingly detailed. As a storyteller, and especially as one with such a good eye for character, Gautreaux looks like one of the best writers to have emerged in the 1990s. A fine first novel. (Author tour)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312199364
Publisher:
Picador
Publication date:
01/01/1999
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
799,121
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.78(d)

Meet the Author

Tim Gautreaux teaches English at Southeastern Louisiana University. His work has appeared in Atlantic Monthly, Harpers, GQ, Story, Best American Short Stories, and New Stories from the South. He is the author of the story collection Same Place, Same Things.

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The Next Step in the Dance 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
NAO_42 More than 1 year ago
Great plot, engaging characterers. Geatreaux's writing reminds me of another favorite author, John Updike. He should be marketed nationally. Featured in the new writers of interest section.
MrsO More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and its characters. Interesting reading about another culture, but it sometimes went on too much about the technical details and mechanics that only a man would find necessary to describe and that I as a woman often had no idea what he was talking about, so found myself skimming over the descriptions of these workings. But all in all a very enjoyable book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago