Joan Barfoot Dancing in the Dark

ISBN 13: 9780704346741

Dancing in the Dark

3.63 avg rating
( 109 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780704346741: Dancing in the Dark
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Edna is a perfect wife, a secret dreamer, and a murderer. Keeping her house scrupulously clean takes up almost all of her time, but when she closes her eyes, a whole new Edna comes into play.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Joan Barfoot is the award-winning author of ten previous novels. Her work has been compared internationally with that of Anne Tyler, Carol Shields, Margaret Drabble, Fay Weldon and Margaret Atwood. She lives in London, Ontario.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1

I bind my wounds with paper; with this blue notebook, a garish shade not eggshell nor sky nor water, but a colour too blunt and striking. There are spaces on the cover labelled, in black print, Name ____________; and below that, Subject ____________. The date is August 17. I asked the ­nurse.

In tiny print in the bottom left-­hand corner it says the book is printed with recycled paper. And that, I think, is good. I have always approved of that sort of thing, when I have thought about ­it.

Inside, the notebook is lined thinly with grey, a pink stripe marking a margin at the side of each page, three holes cut into each margin, round and precise, not at all like the holes, irregular and unspaced, made by a knife in a body. There is a comforting neatness about this book, so one feels compelled either to leave it blank or to write in it carefully, perfectly, and with a certain pain in the ­perfection.

I appreciate things that are careful, complete, and perfect. This day, for instance. I am fortunate to have a place beside the big window, so that I can look out without ­obstruction.

Here, of course, there is an unchanging temperature, an untouchability in the atmosphere. So I cannot tell if outside it is uncomfortably hot, but I think not; I think it is a day in which heat soaks the body like a liniment and ­heals.

Yesterday it rained. But since I am safe inside here, that too was fine, and I watched the greyness falling ­mist-­like. The result of the rain is that in today’s sunshine there is an extra greenness, an ­almost-­too-­shrill brightness. It is all quite clearly defined; there are perceptible boundaries between the green of the grass and the ­tree-­trunk-­grey and the deep green leaves, no blending to ­confuse.

On such a day the mind should also be ­distinct.

It is the details with which I may occupy myself, nothing larger than this room, this body. I shall attempt neatness and keep removed from ­passion.

The bed is narrow, sheeted with white, coarse. The bed I used to have was wide, the sheets were blue and in the winter covered by the deep down quilt made far back in my mother’s family, in aging rags of blue, soft yellow checkered red and white. That bed did not have buttons to be pushed that raise shiny steel bars at the sides, an extra bulk that spoils the simplicity of the lines. And it was softer too, while this one is hard and tightly ­wrapped.

There are two such beds in this room. One is mine, and I am careful to stay in it, or near it, never stray too far, for although it may be strange and ugly, it is also ­mine.

I can reach out and touch it from where I sit in the easy chair, the ­blue-­and-­purple-­patterned chair that fills the space between the narrow bed and the wide, ­heavy-­glass window. I sit with my legs crossed at the ankles, back pressed firmly against the chair, blue notebook opened squarely on my lap, my knees touching the base of the window ledge while still in my line of vision on the other side is the glimpse of unwrinkled ­sheet-­whiteness. Three feet, perhaps, between bed and ­window.

It is precisely the right amount of space. This much I can manage, most ­days.

At the foot of my bed, a narrow pathway distant, is a dresser, a double one that extends the width of my bed and beyond into the other half of the room, a double dresser with mirror, drawers of underwear shared, split into mine and other. Over the centre of my half is a cheap framed landscape, autumn trees with unreal red and gold leaves, a ­too-­blue stream running past ­steel-­grey rocks. Not the sort of painting I would choose, and yet it is oddly right for this ­room.

Overhead there is a fluorescent light, switched on at dusk and on dull days. Attached to the headboard of the bed is a reading lamp, which must not be used after a certain hour. When it gets dark, ­cream-­coloured curtains are drawn across the windows and there is no more to ­see.

It is a puzzling ­half-­room, clumsily warm, but not personal. Some things I like about it though: that it is arranged in straight lines; that it is always in order; that I am responsible for none of ­it.

The days are slow, events are rare. No one makes me move. The farthest I go from my narrow ­half-­room is to the dining area three times a day; the second farthest when I again pass the other bed, the other half of the double dresser, the second and ­near-­identical landscape on the wall, the closet, to go to the washroom. There are two of us in this room, with a washroom connecting with two others in the next room. To be sure of privacy in the bathroom, it is necessary to lock two doors: the one from Room 201, which is mine, and the one from Room 203, which is next door. Sometimes when I sit on the toilet and do not care to move, for it is white and bright in there, a door handle may move and there may be a muffled remark, but I pay no attention. To move, even if I wanted to, is an effort of will, and I am somewhat short of will these ­days.

And too, consumed as I am by the trivialities of my own existence, a piece of lint on my housecoat, the glint of a straight pin on the carpet by my chair – and how would such a thing get there if not through me, and I have no use for straight pins, a puzzle to occupy some moments – how should I then have attention for those others? I am careful not to see them. I want to know nothing about them. I take special care in my own ­half-­room never to glance beyond my bed, never to acknowledge the mutters and rustlings from the other bed, never to meet eyes. If it were possible, I would roll my eyes inward and stare only at ­myself.

When I am to be dressed, someone does it for me. They get me up and seat me; sometimes even brush my teeth. I would have my food, too, spooned into me except that that would make a contact, it would be difficult to avoid the eyes and too much trouble, and so I feed myself. I wait, though, until the meat has been cut for me. Otherwise I would have to take it in my hands to gnaw, for I cannot imagine myself carving it ­up.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780704338951: Dancing in the Dark

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0704338955 ISBN 13:  9780704338951
Publisher: The Women's Press, 1982
Softcover

9780773673083: Dancing in the Dark

Genera..., 1990
Softcover

9780771597237: Dancing in the dark: A literary tour de force that stunningly portrays a housewife's descent into madness and murder

Macmil..., 1982
Hardcover

9780380670581: Dancing in the Dark

Avon B..., 1985
Softcover

9780676978353: Dancing in the Dark

Vintag..., 2006
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Joan Barfoot
Published by The Women s Press Ltd, United Kingdom (2000)
ISBN 10: 0704346745 ISBN 13: 9780704346741
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description The Women s Press Ltd, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Edna is a perfect wife, a secret dreamer, and a murderer. Keeping her house scrupulously clean takes up almost all of her time, but when she closes her eyes, a whole new Edna comes into play. Seller Inventory # AAR9780704346741

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 10.74
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Joan Barfoot
Published by The Women s Press Ltd, United Kingdom (2000)
ISBN 10: 0704346745 ISBN 13: 9780704346741
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description The Women s Press Ltd, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Edna is a perfect wife, a secret dreamer, and a murderer. Keeping her house scrupulously clean takes up almost all of her time, but when she closes her eyes, a whole new Edna comes into play. Seller Inventory # AAR9780704346741

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 15.94
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

Joan Barfoot
Published by The Women's Press Ltd
ISBN 10: 0704346745 ISBN 13: 9780704346741
New Paperback Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description The Women's Press Ltd. Paperback. Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Seller Inventory # B9780704346741

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 7.13
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 8.89
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

Joan Barfoot
Published by Women's Press Limited; The (2000)
ISBN 10: 0704346745 ISBN 13: 9780704346741
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Women's Press Limited; The, 2000. PAP. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # CW-9780704346741

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 7.29
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.52
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Joan Barfoot
Published by Women's Press Ltd,The (2000)
ISBN 10: 0704346745 ISBN 13: 9780704346741
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Women's Press Ltd,The, 2000. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 192 pages. In Stock. Seller Inventory # __0704346745

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 9.53
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.60
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

6.

Joan Barfoot
Published by The Women's Press Ltd (2000)
ISBN 10: 0704346745 ISBN 13: 9780704346741
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description The Women's Press Ltd, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0704346745

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 37.76
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.27
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

7.

Joan Barfoot
Published by The Women's Press Ltd (2000)
ISBN 10: 0704346745 ISBN 13: 9780704346741
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books Express
(Portsmouth, NH, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description The Women's Press Ltd, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0704346745n

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 102.87
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds