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This novel opens on a battlefield: trudging back from the front through a ravaged and icy wasteland, their horses dying around them, their own hunger rendering them almost savage, the Russian soldiers are exhausted as they reach the city of Ufa, desperate for food and shelter. They find both, and then music and dance. And there, spinning unafraid among them, dancing for the soldiers and anyone else who'll watch him, is one small pale boy, Rudolf. This is Colum McCann's dancer: Rudolf, a prodigy at six years old, who became the greatest dancer of the century, who redefined dance, rewrote his own life, and died of AIDS before anyone knew he had it.

This is an extraordinary life transformed into extraordinary fiction by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation. One kind of masculine grace is perfectly matched to another in Colum McCann's beautiful and daring new novel.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 28mm | 276g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1526617366
  • 9781526617361

Review Text

The theme of towering celebrity and its attendant vacuity is very well done The Times
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Review quote

The theme of towering celebrity and its attendant vacuity is very well done -- Chris Power * The Times * McCann's remarkable novel ... McCann's prose - nimble, lyrical and wispy - does full justice to the tragic story of a dancer who was the glory of his generation * Sunday Times * It's a strikingly original book, and as apparently effortless as one of Fonteyn's pirouettes or Nureyev's leaps into space * Irish Times * An utterly riveting, frequently moving, and staggeringly well-written book -- Wendy Holden * Daily Mail * McCann's agile, muscular prose creates its own energy and rhythm ... he has taken one of the most charismatic characters of the 20th century and created a bold contemporary novel * Daily Telegraph * Like its subject, it spins with virtuoso, charismatic brilliance around a core of wilful mystery * Guardian * Here is an astonishing book. Colum McCann writes with a ferocious eloquence and a masterly sense of narrative ... he has given us something wonderful * Spectator * Dancer brilliantly conveys Nureyev's charisma. He haunted you. You couldn't shake him off. His eyes were "complicated and blue", and such is McCann's skill and intuition, we penetrate that gaze * Daily Express * Employing a multiplicity of narrators, and skilfully interchanging between them ... McCann produces a vivid, many-faceted portrait of the man. He succeeds in lifting Nureyev off the page and planting him firmly in the mind of the reader ... There are charming vignettes ... The range of wonderfully evoked settings is impressive * Scotland on Sunday * Dancer is an enticing read ... McCann has an especially tender way with the human body -- Rachel Cooke * Observer * Here is what it feels like to be possessed by the genius of dance. It is the story of something mysterious and intangible, beauty combined with a potentially crude element, the human body ... Dancer is an ambitious and thrilling novel * Times Literary Supplement * It is the bleak scenes of everyday Russian life, the school of hard knocks in which the genius was forged, that are the chief glory of a fine book * Sunday Telegraph * McCann takes the germ of an idea - the unknowable icon, the 1970s pinup - and with compassion and an outpouring of imagination, builds a ferociously original tale of that life's gifts and iniquities * Independent on Sunday * A beautiful, floating novel about Nureyev's life and art * New York Times Book Review *
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About Colum McCann

Colum McCann is the author of six novels and three collections of stories. His most recent novel Apeirogon was longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. TransAtlantic was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013, and Let the Great World Spin won the National Book Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was a New York Times bestseller. His work has been published in forty languages and has received many international honours, including a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, election to the Irish arts academy and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China and an Oscar nomination. He is the co-founder of the non-profit global story exchange organisation, Narrative 4, and he teaches at the MFA program in Hunter College. He was born in Dublin and lives in New York.
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