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Time To Dance Paperback – 1 Jan 1993

4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; 2 edition (1 Jan. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340551194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340551196
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The narrative of the obsession is told with great verve and conviction, from the first fortuitous encounter...to the open-ended conclusion (Penelope Lively, Evening Standard)

Vibrantly erotic...brave and searingly honest..compulsively gripping (Graham Lord, Sunday Times)

It is a sexy book. It is a romantic book. Its heart is the dream of great passion (Philippa Gregory, The Sunday Times)

The key to the success of the book is its simplicity and unpretentiousness...makes convincing the disorderly and unreasoning passion of the orderly and reasoning man (Rose Tremain, Listener)

Book Description

'Magnetic...A major imaginative triumph' OBSERVER

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this book when it first came out in 1990, twelve years on, it still has not lost its power to convey powerful emotions to me through the sheer power of its prose and Melvyn Bragg's beautiful descriptions of the English Lakes district.
'A Time To Dance' chronicles the love affair in 1989 England between a retired 54 year old bank manager (of whom we never know his name) and 18 year old school-leaver Bernadette Kennedy who is from the 'wrong side of the tracks' socially. The book itself takes the form of a letter from the bank manager to Bernadette after the ending of their affair, chronicling their affair from beginning to end. Despite the fact that the bank manager is married, with an invalid wife, the affair itself is not presented as a cheap, sordid affair, purely based on sex. Rather, the affair is seen through the eyes of the bank manager who has obviously come to a crossroads in his life with retirement and stuck in a rut of his own making. Nowhere in the book at any stage is it suggested that the bank manager has consciously set out to seduce a younger woman. Rather than following the crude, disturbing path of 'Lolita', the book is an evocative description of the healing power of love and of how age ceases to be an issue when two people are drawn to each other by love.
Set in the beauty of the Cumbrian countryside, one cannot help but be moved by the beauty of the book as Melvyn Bragg thoroughly explores the lives of the book's characters, what led them to falling in love and the lives of those close to them who are affected by their love affair. The use of the bank manager as the book's narrator adds an excellent dose of realism to the book as the bank manager experiences the ecstasy and the pain of erotic love. Once read, this book will never be forgotten.
I write this review with the encouragement of my wonderful (and younger) partner, Amelia.
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Format: Paperback
I have read this book time and time again and have never tired of it. Melvyn Braggs description of the thoughts and feelings of a retired manager bank manager, whose life has been one of respectability until he falls in love with a young Irish girl are wonderful. His obsession with the girl, Bernadette, leads him to act like a love torn teeenager himself. The story is told as a diary that he writes recording all his thoughts and deeds and the letters that they send to each other. The story is a moving evocation of two people, far removed from each other in terms of age and background, who fall in love. It describes the difficulty that they have in trying to keep their love a secret, knowing that they were 'laying a serpent seedbed of gossip which would spring up armed and oppose both of us', of the 'civil war between head and heart' as he tries to understand why he loves her. The story goes through the full circle of the relationship - of the lust when they first meet, the contentment with each other, the damage of jealousy. It is an erotic, moving book - sensual and sexual -you feel both sympathy and resepect for both charactors.
This is, i believe Melvyn Bragg at his best.
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Format: Paperback
When you read any work of fiction by a well known public figure you have to work a little harder on the 'suspension of disbelief'. I found the first few chapters, particularly the introduction of the sex scenes quite difficult to read for this reason. It felt a bit like being at school and reading an erotic passage written by your English teacher. It is a credit to Bragg's skill that I was soon able to forget such associations and became compelled by the drama he skilfully creates. A few things didn't quite work for me. I found the shifting narrative perspectives a little disorientating. There are effectively three voices contained inside one and it is sometimes difficult to work out whether we are reading a letter written in the present or if it is part of the broader letter which makes up the book. That aside Bragg's depiction of a middle-aged man, plodding routinely through his life and then suddenly, shatteringly awoken as if from a dream, by a young, vibrant woman is wonderfully constructed and developed. His hero (or anti-hero) is entirely believable, you feel every contrasting emotion with him and the object of his affections, Bernadette, is one of the most striking, life-affirming characters I have encountered for some time. I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has ever experienced the pleasure, both physical and emotional and the accompanying pain, of love.
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Format: Paperback
I found the first 100 pages a struggle, and as one reviewer said you could miss a couple of pages, and still not lose the thread of the story.
The last 100 pages were very moving, and somehow put the whole story into perspective. The bank manager, as thats how we know him, annoyed me with his self pitying, and his ability never to learn from his previous mistakes, but then thats what novel writing is all about to draw you into the narrative.
I felt Melvyn Bragg laboured sopme of the points, but he wrote evocatively of the Lake District, and I suppose how a 54 year old might feel about being besotted by a 18 year old.
A good read, that once into was difficult to put down.
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Format: Paperback
This is a deeply profound story of love and passion. It has an emotional honesty that is rarely found and an acute awareness of all the aspects relating to love. I found the story of the retired Bank Manager and his teenage venus so thoroughly engrossing that I could not put this book down. Melvyn Bragg in no way allows the age difference of these two characters to become anything more than a beautiful alliance. You feel for this mis-matched couple, you want desperately for their love to continue, to remain intense, for love to conquer all. And they have much to overcome.
This story tells of a love we hope will come our way, sometime in our life, but very rarely does. And for those who have yet to find such a love, it will reveal the depth of emotion you have yet to experience.
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