After reading Let the Great World Spin, I decided to pick up Dancer. Originally I was going to hold on to it for later since I try not to read the same authors back to back, but, bored one day, I flipped through the beginning pages, and from there I was transfixed.
This is what I want to say about McCann, who has firmly cemented his place for me as a writer I now love: he blows me away. He's a smart writer, who tackles all sorts of different subject matter, gets away with writing from POVs who are completely unlike himself (gay Russian dancer?), breaks the rules (multiple POVs, starting in different places than where you end up, doing all sorts of confusing time jumps) but gets away with it, and creates sentences that are completely dazzling. He amazes me.
What I loved about this book most though, aside from the conceit and the writing, is how closely I could relate it to writing. I mean, okay, I loved this book first just because I love ballet, but also, to read about Nureyev's passion for dance and the way he approaches mastering it was really inspiring for me and also was extremely relateable for me. I love when he quotes Nietzche about days without dance, and the way McCann portrays his process.
I listened recently to McCann's interview on Bookworm, and it opened some doors for me in my reading of this book -- to understand it also as a story about the little people who also got a piece of Nureyev, and also of how he became an exile from the one place he wanted to return to, despite having the keys to the doors of all other kingdoms of the world. I highly suggest listening to this interview after you've read the book.
This entry has come late (I've been so swamped), and so I've forgotten the quotes I wanted to jot down. But needless to say, I loved this.