Emma Kate Thomas, a teenaged ballerina from the Midwest, gets the chance to move to New York and study, to see the sights and meet new people, to discover life without her parents and love on her own. What makes the book a great read is not only the care and insight with which Pinard exposes Emma and her circle of dancers and friends, making them real and flawed and wonderfully human, as well as the era and setting, but also the fact that Pinard is the type of writer who can toss off a stunning insight such as "But I'd hate to plan my life around a failure of imagination" within a casual conversation. Shadow Dancing reminds us how we got where we are: by dreaming, working, stumbling, learning. It's a beaut of a novel.
This report prepared by Shawn Behlen
Emma Kate Thomas, a seventeen-year-old ballerina from a small midwestern conservatory, leaves her parents and dance partner behind when a world-famous director entices her to New York. But her imagined waltz to centerstage turns tango as soon as she arrives. Three male mentors vie to become her partner, each exacting his price, and she forges a family of immigrant women to prop her sagging spirit. As stagelight strikes, Emma Kate sees her shadow, recalls the defining moment of her childhood buried under the patchwork of her parents' love, and rediscovers the "dance" she learned in the heartland.
This report prepared by Nancy Pinard