McCann trips the light fantstic with 'Dancer'!,
This review is from: Dancer (Paperback)
In "Dancer," a "fictionalized biography" of Rudolf Nureyev, Colum McCann, indeed, takes liberty with his subject matter, although one certainly wonders just how far! Serious Rudohiles and scholars will notice this. However, one must give the author his dues--this is stated as a work of fiction.
That said, it certainly is a mesmerizing work, a roman a clef of the first order. McCann, while certainly intrigued by the subject, makes an effort to capture the whole picture. Beginning with graphic scenes of the Russian Front in the dead of winter in l943, McCann then introduces us to young Rudi, a boy totally captivated and dedicated to dance.
The novel then takes off, ala a good foreign film, in several directions, shifting bluntly from one character to another, a carefully choreographed and orchestrated plot outline. We watch with fascination as Rudi grows up, is given special attention by the state authorities, especially at the Kirov, and then successfully defects to the West. The book is a miasma of successes and failures, a pot pourri of Nureyev's lifestyle and profession. McCann portrays at once a young man given to his great ego and self confidence, his insensitivities to friends and associates alike, and his dedication to the few close friends (and family) he maintains.
This is a picture that perhaps not everyone is happy with; however, it's fiction and much of the speculation can be accepted. Even if "Dancer" was not so obviously about Nureyev, substituting a completely fictional name for the character would not diminish McCann's power in this riviting book. A good read.