The art of falling isn’t hard to master, Penelope Sparrow discovers, when she wakes up in the hospital after a 14-story plunge that ended with her body colliding with Marty Kandelbaum’s car.
Remembering the fall is too dangerous. Remembering means facing the loss of Dmitri, the loss of dancing. Remembering means facing that she may have tried to commit suicide. Kandelbaum’s arrival is the first obstacle in Penny’s path toward self-wallowing. Determined to protect her from further harm, Kandelbaum brings fasnachts from his bakery, hoping food may begin the process of healing. A lifetime of being criticized for not having the stereotypical dancer’s body, however, has left Penny vigilant about every morsel that passes her lips. She doesn’t have an eating disorder, she tells herself; she simply must be careful. Her roommate at the hospital, Angela, has no such qualms. Battling cystic fibrosis, Angela embraces every pleasure life allows her. Dance critic Margaret MacArthur arrives soon after Marty. Unbeknownst to Penny, MacArthur has followed her career, and now she is certainly interested in the accident, but she is clearly also interested in something more. No matter how hard Penny tries not to recall or discuss why she fell, everything reminds her of Dmitri—their love, their partnership at Dance DeLaval, her joy in dancing his choreography—yet at the edges of her memory she sees the shadows of his rejection. While her mother and friends try to buffer Penny’s recovery, it is MacArthur’s blunt persistence that forces her to confront the damage exacted on her body and soul well before the fall. To see the truth, Penny will have to recognize the lies and rough condemnation of the dance world. Craft’s debut novel lovingly traces the aesthetics of movement and gently explores the shattering pain of despair.
A sensitive study of a woman choreographing her own recovery.