Nancy Huston Slow Emergencies

ISBN 13: 9780316380096

Slow Emergencies

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9780316380096: Slow Emergencies
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Lin has a husband, two daughters, and close friends. But dance is her passion. Inescapably, it imposes itself upon her, until the inevitable moment when she must choose between her family life and the all-consuming world of dance to which she aches to return.

Slow Emergencies conveys an irresistible impulse to create, and illustrates the emotional turmoil that ensues for Lin and her family. Nancy Huston, award-winning author of The Mark of the Angel, writes brilliantly here about the passage of time, the body’s vulnerability, and the solitude of creative endeavor. What results is a deeply felt novel that offers a disquieting but profoundly moving meditation on just what it means to be an artist.

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Review:

The protagonist of Slow Emergencies lives in a sleepy New England college town, choreographing dances in her attic studio. She shares a comfortable house and a cozy life with her philosophy professor husband and two small daughters. But none of this quite satisfies Lin, who is consumed by her work. So when an irresistible offer comes--a dance company in Mexico City wants her to be its director--she leaves husband and children behind and becomes a traveling artist. Alas, just as her old life was haunted by the specter of an unfulfilled career, her new life is haunted by the specter of her children: "In the Mexico City subway, and in the streets--everywhere but in the dance--Lin is vulnerable to attack by babies. The second she hears a baby crying, panic seizes her."

Nancy Huston's writing comes alive when she's describing Lin's home life. The children, especially, are delicately observed. But although the author wants us to feel her heroine's overpowering need to dance, her writing on the subject is vague and pretentious, never letting us into the details of Lin's artistic process. In rehearsal, she and her partner are "welded together by the throbbing air." The dances themselves sound pretty awful: "It is about stone and sculpture, about failure leading to rage, then madness and finally to imprisonment." The kids, on the other hand, sound pretty terrific (one daughter insists that her mother is "as beautiful as Italy"). At such moments, it's difficult not to wonder whether Lin has put her eggs in the wrong basket. Still, in these postfeminist times, it's a daring choice to write with tenderness about a woman who abandons her babies for her art. --Claire Dederer

From the Back Cover:

“Spare, elegant .... I can think of no other novel that so honestly and deeply explores the experience of the artist.” — Jeffrey Lent, author of In the Fall

“A sensitive, sweeping account of the difficulty of reconciling maternal and artistic callings”–Publishers Weekly

“A haunting story about an uncommon subject”–Library Journal

“One wakes from this novel as from a spell of urgent, slow-motion dreams. . . . Slow Emergencies is full of the elements of enchantment.” — The Washington Post

“Told simply and without pretense. . . . Huston deserves bravos for her portrayal of how motherhood devours the mother.”– Book

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780375709203: Slow Emergencies: A Novel

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0375709207 ISBN 13:  9780375709203
Publisher: Vintage, 2002
Softcover

9781883642631: Slow Emergencies

Steerf..., 2001
Hardcover

9781552780411: Slow Emergencies

Little..., 1996
Softcover

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