Tration of this as well as being one of my favourite pieces in the book it tells of a couple attending a school ceilidh but also of the tensions running through their relationship
#The man is uickly and chillingly established as a figure For a child to cry #man is uickly and chillingly established as a threatening figure a child to cry one of Daddy s moods is not a good thing because then he ll teach them how it really feels to hurt p 139 he attends the ceilidh only reluctantly and makes sure his partner Deborah knows that for Deborah s part she knows how destructive is this relationship but still finds herself drawn to the man who is not named thereby depersonalising him and emphasising the sense of his being a threat The act of leading the dance comes to represent the struggle to exert control over the relationship Salway superbly maintains a sense of menace throughoutSome of the tales gain their effect from a the tales gain their effect from a of the viewpoint interacting with plot events uiet Hour is rich in dramatic irony its child protagonist Malcolm waits in his father s new car and investigates what all the buttons do he s not aware of the implications of his father s comment that Mummy and I are going to have a little sleep p 44 nor of why his usual tactics for good behaviour are not working at the end but the reader is which results in a very entertaining story Alphabet Wednesdays uses its structure as well as its voice to put distance between the reader and its underlying reality Flora is unable or unwilling to talk and has been placed in a special group with three other girls at school which aims to raise their self esteem The girls have been asked to keep a ournal about their role models each to begin with a different letter of the alphabet the text of the story is that of Flora s ournal At first it s uite amusing to read Flora s naive voice describing a series of apparently disconnected subjects but the difficulties of Flora s home life the extent of which she herself is not fully aware gradually become clear when Flora writes about dancing to Gloria Gaynor we sense the additional weight of what her mother always says We can do itWe can survive p30Elsewhere in Leading the Dance are stories where the situation depicted is extraordinary The narrator of The Woman Downstairs describes matter of factly how she pushed a visitor down the cellar stairs and now keeps her trapped there Precisely what is going on here is uncertain there are hints that the captive woman may be a figment of the protagonist s imagination but whatever the situation it s clear that the narrator is struggling to cope with reality Salway evokes the character s mindset subtly yet thoroughlyIn Painting the Family Pet a portrait painter arrives on Helen s doorstep Amy Turner paints pets but there are no animals in this household so she ends up painting the fridge instead It s an absurd situation but Salway makes it work partly by treating it with complete conviction within the story but also by giving it metaphoric import we learn that Helen has bulimia and the fridge and its portrait come to represent something of the effect her condition has had on Helen s relationship with her partner Dan As with the title story the events of this tale carry greater significance than they might seem to on their own termsBy covering five pieces out of eighteen I m in a sense only scratching the surface of the collection but I hope I ve managed to give a flavour of why Leading the Dance is such an interesting set of stories. A school ceilidh turns into a battle for survival This is domestic life turned on its head with Salway's witty and economic prose capturing the private moments of transformation by some very different characters on the ed. .
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I am still reading this but so far excellent Went on a course and Sarah recently and she was an excellent tutor and has really converted me to short stories If I were British I d say that these stories are deliciously wicked Salway is completely psychotic in the most charming way possible I thought this was an amazing collection of short stories The tales really stayed with me days later The story of the housewife with an eating disorder and the strange pet artist who paints a portrait of her fridge is wonderfully surreal but simply inspiredI can t recommend enough My first experience of reading Sarah Salway despite having followed her blog for some time I d been harbouring her books waiting for the right time to start and now it s come thankfully I wasn t disappointedI don t find short stories the easiest form But if they were all like this I think I d like them much Nearly all of these read like actual stories they had a point a development Something actually happened None read like exercises or anecdotesBut the best thing was that all were at least a little strange a little warped Peopled by people carrying secrets or dark desires in their hearts Put all these people together in a town and you d have a very odd place but eually at a uick glance it could in a town and you d have a very odd place but eually at a uick glance it could utterly normal These people have genuine uirks the kind that real people do It s ust that Salway takes time to notice them and bring them to light Some funny some sad All very human I felt at home among her castNow I can t wait to see what her novels deliver Book ReviewLeading the Dance by Sarah SalwayBlue Chrome Publishing ISBN 1 904781 88 8Paperback 155 Pages 799Sarah Salway s collection of Short Stories Leading the Dance focuses on the cracks between the bigger elements of life These are Well Written Tightly Structured written tightly structured about lives being changed or Once Upon a Time (Calluvias Royalty, just limping on in the same way that they always haveThere is in Chains the story about the Man who s relationship could go either way when he reveals the Hand cuffs he hasust bought Or in uiet Hour little Malcolm pretends to be a Statue when his Mum needs him to be good A new car is a new way of communicating between his parents but the Mum needs him to be good A new car is a new way of communicating between his parents but the man who turns up at the end means that everybody misses the good statue that Malcolm is playingIn Toad in the Hole school events are recalled and forgotten and he marries a girl who needs to keep the windows clean The ironically titled A Lovely Evening is nothing of the sort showing couples suffocating alone in their relationships whilst in the title story Leading the Dance the couple are seen as being happy but she knows that they are notThese stories about relationship though are sometimes complicated and bizarre In Painting the Family Pet for example a lady knocks at the door saying she paints Pets Portraits but after inviting herself into the house she draws the fridge and all of its contentsThe Fabulous Button Sisters is about the lead girl at school and her acolytes The lead girl has dreams of going to Hollywood where her Mother is but when she leaves all of her post cards have a Birmingham post mark In Jesus and the Aubergines there is the Middle aged woman trying to come to terms with her divorce and re uniting with her daughter whilst in Lonesome Tonight a Mother and Daughter going through similar emotions about a divorce talk about a man falling to his death from an Office BlockBlind the collections final story concerns a Secrets and their conseuences run deep through Sarah Salway's short stories in this haunting and sharply written collection A bored housewife welcomes the nomadic painter of family pets into her home and commissions a port. Ome help caring for a blind man whilst The Woman Downstairs Keeping the Rules and Every time you open your Eyes looks at a myriad of relationships from a number of different perspectivesLeading
*the dance is *Dance is very good collection fits nicely alongside Sarah Salway s previous work Something Beginning with although some of the pieces the book feel like very loosely drawn character sketches or descriptions and ideas Are Skated Over To Fit In With The Limitations Of skated over to fit in with the limitations of formThe Short Story as a market is very small with few publishers willing to take a chance on them so congratulations must go to Blue Chrome for sticking their neck out for this book Elegant insightful stories See my blog review uiet Hour is one of my favorite stories Leading the Dance is a collection of short stories bound together by the concept of secrets within everyday life Sarah manges to write colourful charcters and fascinating tales all presented within a few pages something that I believe takes great writing skillSome of my pesonal highlights include a woman who has a portrait done of the contents of her fridge which seems amusing but deals with bulimia a wife who secretly follows her husband s affair via his emails a touching tale of two sisters and their loneliness a boy who has been taught to ignore his mother s afternoon visitors and especially the woman who locks another woman in her basementI can honestly say that not one tale within this collection disappointed and I m sure everyone will find their own personal favourite Despite being very short each one seems to have depth and I will certainly be going back to read them againI very much enjoyed Sarah s voice and the way she writes and I will be actively hunting of her work Some books specifically short story collections are like a box of chocolates You never know what you re going to get And I found myself thinking this about Leading The Dance by Sarah Salway this weekYou see I never read the stories in collections in order I don t know why I ust don t Last week after many weeks of dipping in to it I realised that sadly I was nearing the end I probably only had one or two stories left to read though as I d not read it in order I didn t know how manySo like those last few chocolates in a box you ve really loved I tried to save them You know as a treat I didn t want to be greedy and scoff them all in no time And I didn t want to lift the lid and see how many or few I had left I wanted to enjoy them And enjoy them I did butThe box is empty now and I m disappointedI want I loved the first book Something Beginning With of Sarah s I read And I love this I think as much It is I think the best collection of short stories I ve read It s delicate and tender in places and heart twistingly sad in others It s not short on laughs either And if there s one thing that s present right the way through the book it s the uncanny way that you can empathise with or recognise almost all of the charactersIt is expertly written and hugely enjoyable The prose sparkles mostly while at times it is nothing short of dazzling And touchingA fantastic collection from 19012008 The stories in Sarah Salway s collection Leading the Dance recently republished in a new edition are built from elements that are ostensibly largely uotidian but often treated in a way that lays bare the significance that everyday things can have to people Let s start with the title story which is a fine illus. Rait of her fridge; a schoolboy learns how to survive when his gang turns against him; a man's life is turned around when he hears his wife make a new noise in bed and in the title story a dance between husband and wife at.