Dancer

Dancer

by Colum McCann

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Overview

From the acclaimed author of This Side of Brightness, the epic life and times of Rudolf Nureyev, reimagined in a dazzlingly inventive masterpiece-published to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Nureyev's death

A Russian peasant who became an international legend, a Cold War exile who inspired millions, an artist whose name stood for genius, sex, and excess-the magnificence of Rudolf Nureyev's life and work are known, but now Colum McCann, in his most daring novel yet, reinvents this erotically charged figure through the light he cast on those who knew him.

Taking his inspiration from the biographical facts, McCann tells the story through a chorus of voices: there is Anna Vasileva, Rudi's first ballet teacher, who rescues her protégé from the stunted life of his town; Yulia, whose sexual and artistic ambitions are thwarted by her Soviet-sanctioned marriage; and Victor, the Venezuelan hustler, who reveals the lurid underside of the gay celebrity set. Spanning four decades and many worlds, from the horrors of Stalingrad 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, Margot Fonteyn 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.

In ecstatic prose, McCann evokes the distinct consciousness of the man and the glittering reflection of the myth. The result is a monumental story of love, art, and exile.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466848696
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 06/25/2013
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 356
Sales rank: 308,322
File size: 575 KB

Read an Excerpt



From Dancer:
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.

Customer Reviews