Dancing Backwards

Salley Vickers

The long-awaited new novel from Salley Vickers, bestselling and much-loved author of Miss Garnet’s Angel and The Other Side of You.

Violet Hetherington has taken the rash step of joining a transatlantic cruise ship to New York to visit Edwin, an old friend. As she makes the six day crossing, she relives the traumatic events that led to her losing Edwin’s friendship, and abandoning her career as a poet, for the safety of marriage and domesticity.

Despite her natural reserve, she meets a rich variety of passengers travelling with her, who affect her understanding of her own past. Most significantly, she meets Dino, the dance host, whose motives in befriending Vi are shady, but who teaches her to ballroom dance – and inadvertently helps her to recover from her past.

Moving between the late sixties and the present day, Dancing Backwards is written with the lightness of touch and psychological insight which characterise Salley Vickers’ acclaimed work. This bittersweet novel is subtle, poignant and wonderfully entertaining.

Reviews of Dancing Backwards

    • ‘If you enjoy the work of Marilynne Robinson, Penelope Fitzgerald, James Salter or Anita Brookner, you should be reading Vickers. All these authors reflect, with grace and gravity, on life’s moments of sorrowful epiphany.’ Michael Dirda, Washington Post
    • Praise for ‘Instances of the Number 3’:’Salley Vickers is a remarkable optimist. She shows that happiness can be found even after it seems to have died.’ David Sexton, Evening Standard
    • ‘Gentleness of perception and sharpness of intellect…sustains you long after the last page.’ Bel Mooney, The Times
    • ‘Admirable. Salley Vickers has a way with persuasive characters and crisp narrative.’ Penelope Lively, Independent
    • ‘Vickers writes sympathetically about the bereaved women as they remake their lives.’ Margaret Walter, Sunday Times
    • ‘Studded with observations and asides that stop you in your tracks.’ Julie Wheelwright, Scotland on Sunday
    • ‘The reader glides through it effortlessly. The plot is simple, yet has an amazing amount of narrative power. Vickers’ second novel confirms that she will have a long and outstanding career.’ Martyn Goff, The Times
    • ‘Lovely. Distinctive grace.’ Murrough O’Brien, Daily Telegraph
    • ‘Her voice rings true and strong.’ Jane Gardam, Spectator