Author: Colum McCann
Details: (c) 2003 Colum McCann; Pub Phoenix 2003; ISBN 0-75381-704-7
Verdict: Dancer is an original approach to biography.
Reasons for reading it: I found the idea of a novelized biography of Nuryev appealing.
How it came into my hands: loreid was trying to get rid of some excess books, and I took this along with a couple of others.
Dancer employs an interesting technique, namely presenting a series of snippets of viewpoints for various people Nuryev interacted with in his life. This works rather well, especially as the large cast of secondary characters are all really vivid. In fact, Nuryev himself seems a little flat in comparison with some of the others, even though there is a little bit of his viewpoint. I suppose it's a reasonable assumption that anyone who would pick up the book probably knows the general outline of Nuryev's life.
The prose is generally good, but a little over-written. McCann gives the impression of a talented writer spoiled by too many creative writing classes! Still, there are moments when the writing really does work, and the excellent characterization makes up for that minor flaw. Generally I found the book highly readable and moving.