cover image The Cranes Dance

The Cranes Dance

Meg Howrey. Vintage, $17.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-30-794982-0

Howrey’s engaging new novel (after Blind Sight) exposes the competitive world of professional ballet through Kate Crane, a charmingly sarcastic ballerina at a crossroads. Kate’s younger sister, Gwen, who dances in the same company and is a better dancer than Kate, has come back to her family after an emotional collapse for which Kate feels responsible. Gwen’s absence from the stage gives Kate opportunities, but the sisters have been struggling with competition and support for so long that Kate, trying to define herself without her sister, is uncomfortable with success. Already at a point where age and the limits of her talent are making her confront the future, Kate suffers an injury and spirals into guilt and depression in the novel’s dark second half. Though the plot moves slowly and secrets are disclosed too late, Kate is an ideal guide to an unfamiliar world, from her irreverent explanations of her ballets (Howrey was a professional dancer) to her relatable self-doubt and honesty. Her revelations about family, talent, and what makes us special create a thought-provoking and entertaining read. Agent: Sally Ryder Brady, Brady Literary Management. (May 15)