Tuesday, April 06, 2010

THE WONDER by Diana Evans (2009)

I absolutely loved Diana Evans' breakout novel 26A (winner of the Orange Award for New Writers) and this sophomore effort is equally as engaging.

THE WONDER follows adult siblings/orphans Lucas and Denise who share life aboard a boat moored on the Thames, the same narrow skiff on which they were raised by their eccentric mother. Denise is the responsible older sibling who runs her own floral business while her younger brother Lucas is mostly adrift, though he occasionally writes bit pieces for a magazine.

Trying to figure out who he is and where he's come from, Lucas plumbs the depths of his father's past and discovers that he was at one time an extraordinary dancer/choreographer who steered the once-respected Midnight Ballet, a modern dance company of mainly Black dancers in England in the 1960s.

Meeting one of the lead dancers as well as a dance critic who knew his father intimately, Lucas manages to unravel truths that help him forge his own identity.

Because Evans was a dancer before she became a writer and a critic, this novel hums with authentic dance-world detail.

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