The Cranes Dance
By Meg Howrey
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307949820, 384pp.)
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
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I threw my neck out in the middle of Swan Lake last night.
So begins the tale of Kate Crane, a soloist in a celebrated New York City ballet company who is struggling to keep her place in a very demanding world. At every turn she is haunted by her close relationship with her younger sister, Gwen, a fellow company dancer whose career quickly surpassed Kate’s, but who has recently suffered a breakdown and returned home.
Alone for the first time in her life, Kate is anxious and full of guilt about the role she may have played in her sister’s collapse. As we follow her on an insider tour of rehearsals, performances, and partners onstage and off, she confronts the tangle of love, jealousy, pride, and obsession that are beginning to fracture her own sanity. Funny, dark, intimate, and unflinchingly honest, The Cranes Dance is a book that pulls back the curtains to reveal the private lives of dancers and explores the complicated bond between sisters.
Meg Howrey was a professional dancer and actress. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
- Why does Meg Howrey use the passage from Through the Looking-Glass as an epigraph for The Cranes Dance? In what ways is the quote thematically relevant to the novel?
“A page-turning narrative…Howrey captures the intricacies of an ambitious and thwarted ballerina dealing with the weight of her younger sister’s success in the same field.”
“An engrossing novel about the cutthroat world of New York City ballet, without the hallucinations…The Cranes Dance is an addictive, absorbing take on competition and sisterhood. B+”
—Entertainment Weekly (Must List, 5/18)
"The Cranes Dance holds the door open to the candy store—the sacrosanct world of ballet—and I couldn’t be happier for the privilege. It’s fresh and often hilarious, sharp and adroit. Finding out who’s behind that stage curtain, really behind the curtain, makes for utterly engaging reading. I love this novel!" —Amanda Boyden, author of Pretty Little Dirty
“Howrey’s engaging new novel exposes the competitive world of professional ballet through Kate Crane, a charmingly sarcastic ballerina at a crossroads. . . . Kate is an ideal guide to an unfamiliar world, from her irreverent explanations of her ballets (Howrey was a professional dancer) to her relatable self-doubt and honesty. Her revelations about family, talent, and what makes us special create a thought-provoking and entertaining read.” —Publishers Weekly
“Witty, sharp and exhilarating. . . . A tale of sibling rivalry, youthful ambition and dreams lost and found.” —Susan Fales-Hill, author of One Flight Up
“With its universal themes of ambition and competition, sisterhood and sacrifice, it will appeal to bad dancers as well as balletomanes—an addictive, readable delight.” —Caroline Weber, author of Queen of Fashion
“Playful and smart, Meg Howrey’s fresh voice unveils an eye opening tale about the secretive and obsessive world of ballet.” —Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire