Dancer From The Dance by Andrew Holleran
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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A well written book, hauntingly melodic at times, yet ultimately short on plot.
The book is timeless is a way, describing the feeling all gay men have when they first come to the city:
“…especially the young ones, come into the canyon for the first time, quiet as deer, some of them, coming to your hand for salt: their dark eyes wide and gleaming with the wonder and the fear we had all felt at seeing for the first time life as our dreams had always imagined it… at seeing so many people with whom they could fall in love. The old enchantment composed of lights, music, people was transfixing them for the first time, and it made their faces even more touching.”
I remember well the days and nights spent dancing and looking for love:
“Any memory of those days is nothing but a strong of songs.”
Holleran writes very well and this is the first book of his I have read not dealing with AIDS. While there are many occasions in the book for beautiful prose:
“Love was the key: The popular songs he heard on the radio, Malone realized now, were in the end perfectly accurate. Each time he ran his lips across the concave depression of Frankie’s stomach, he banished further the nights of loneliness, the widow’s cold cream, the sterile years of his wasted youth, and he burrowed deeper at the thought of it into Frankie’s flesh.”
And touches of humour:
“I’ll go live in the woods,” said Malone.
“You’ll be lonely,” said Sutherland. “Even Thoreau went to town in the afternoon to gossip.”
Ultimately not much happens. You come to the city, you dance, you love, you die. Which now that I think of it could be the plot of a lot of people’s lives. I ultimately found the characters under-developed and wanted a beautiful story to go with the amazing prose.
“…what happens to most of these people anyway? They have their fling and then they vanish. They have to take jobs eventually as telephone operators, bartenders, partners in a lamp shop in some little town in the San Fernando mountains… and others take their places… but mostly they just vanish, and you forget about them unless you hear, one day, a certain song.”
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