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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Audio Review: Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey

Author: Meg Howrey
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Title: The Cranes Dance
Publisher: Black Stone Audio INC
Publication: May 15, 2012
Genre: Fiction
Length: 11hrs:41mins
Format: Unabridged Audio
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3 out 5


Amazon Synopsis: "I threw my neck out in the middle of Swan Lake last night."

So begins the tale of Kate Crane, a soloist in a celebrated New York City ballet company who is struggling to keep her place in a very demanding world. At every turn she is haunted by her close relationship with her younger sister, Gwen, a fellow company dancer whose career quickly surpassed Kate’s, but who has recently suffered a breakdown and returned home. 

Alone for the first time in her life, Kate is anxious and full of guilt about the role she may have played in her sister’s collapse.  As we follow her on an insider tour of rehearsals, performances, and partners onstage and off, she confronts the tangle of love, jealousy, pride, and obsession that are beginning to fracture her own sanity. Funny, dark, intimate, and unflinchingly honest, The Cranes Dance is a book that pulls back the curtains to reveal the private lives of dancers and explores the complicated bond between sisters.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed the story. It is about Kate Crane and her relationship to ballet and her sister. The story is told from Kate's perspective. She spends a lot of time complaining, especially about her sister, which gets old. Even though Kate is the oldest and all throughout childhood has gotten what she wanted, it is Gwen who really has everything. At times it felt like Kate was her "sister's keeper" although she gave herself that role and she seems to resent every minute of it.

I loved the descriptions of the ballets. Getting to know each person's role in a ballet and everything that it takes to put on a ballet was great. Those were things I never thought about. Knowing the dancers practice and realizing how intense it is, that's to different things. I also found the discussion on the top pay for ballet interesting. I don't know why I thought it would be more. It would have been great to hear the music usually played during each particular ballet when it was discussed. 

This is a single voiced performance by Justine Eyre. The performance was "OK" for me. Eyre's reading was without emotion and give me the feeling that she couldn't be bothered. Her tone during the entire audio was lackluster. I'm not sure if that was intended by the producers or not. I found that it was difficult to keep my attention. Eyre's pacing was perfect for the story. There is slight differentiation in Eyre's tone when speaking in the voice of other characters. Eyre does a great job with accents, however. The sound volume was perfect. I listened to this on my kindle with headphones.


  1. Sounds a little like a less crazy and more PG-13 version of Black Swan. I may have to read this one. Thanks for the review!

  2. I haven't watched Black Swan. The only thing I know about it is the controversy about Natalie Portman not doing all of the actual dancing. I will try to read this at some point too see if I get a different feel for it.

  3. I read this book a couple months ago. I thought it was pretty good .. but I had Kate and her craziness and attitude stuck in my head for days! I really liked the behind the scenes talk about the ballets, as well as the fairly well-known prima ballerina cattiness. and yes, it reminded me a lot of Black Swan.