Tango Lessons: A Memoir

Meghan Flaherty. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-544-98070-9
At the beginning of this thoughtful and entertaining memoir of the transformative power of dance, Flaherty is a directionless 25-year-old with a humdrum job at a nonprofit and a platonic live-in boyfriend in Queens. She grew up with a cocaine-addicted single mother until, at age six, her father brought her to live with him and his new wife in their loving home. Flaherty was first introduced to tango on a high school term abroad in Argentina; a decade later she decided to sign up for tango lessons in New York City. The first classes were disappointing, but she soon found meaning and fulfillment in the dance movements and in the arms of her partners. Flaherty wonderfully sketches the tension and play within the dance (“every time a leader lunges forward and the follower steps back... the leader opens up an empty space, inviting occupancy”); throughout, she captures the emotions and the mournful, elegiac beauty and history of tango (“for Argentines, it is a living history, written in them root and blood and earth”). In tango’s embrace, Flaherty learned to let go of her troubled past and find her own power and balance on and off the dance floor. This moving story of dancing into womanhood is unforgettable; readers will warm to Flaherty’s unassuming voice and marvelously rendered love of tango, “a sad thought danced.” (June)
Reviewed on: 04/09/2018
Release date: 06/19/2018
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-544-98663-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-978605-21-3
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