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Evan Fallenberg

When We Danced on Water

Evan Fallenberg When We Danced On Water
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Main description:

At eighty-five, Teo is ready to retire from the bombast and romance of life as one of the world’s most influential choreographers. But when he meets Vivi, a fortyish waitress at a Tel Aviv café, the fires of his youth flare back to life—his passion for a woman’s touch, his long-buried anguish at his wartime experiences, and his complex engagement with dance. Vivi’s life will change, too, as the warmth of Teo’s affection counterbalances her harrowing time as an Israeli soldier in an illicit relationship. For both, their investment in art, and indeed in life itself, will reawaken as the ghosts of their suppressed pasts—from Warsaw to Copenhagen, Berlin to Tel Aviv—cry out for forgiveness and healing.

With lustrous prose capturing the grit and fury of history and the breathtaking power of passion, When We Danced on Water is a compelling novel of intimacy and identity, art and ambition, and how love can truly transcend tragedy.

Review quote:

“As their pasts are revealed, an unexpected blessing bears testament to the beauty and the sustainability of their unconventional relationship.”

Review quote:

“Fallenberg’s paradoxical propositions of passion as suffering, and that a life without passion is devoid of meaning, leaves us with an insolvable quandary and a Buddhist diagnosis: life is suffering, one way or another.”

Review quote:

“Fallenberg’s precise prose moves fluidly between the delicate and the bold, much like the aging dancer whose story he tells with such elegance. His spare style sneaks up on the reader, enhancing the emotionality inherent in his subject.”

Review quote:

“Highly recommended.”

Review quote:

“Lyrical...an enjoyable read...[Fallenberg is] sensitively attuned to the power of individual words. His fluid prose is carefully composed.”

Review quote:

“Quietly spectacular and emotionally satisfying...Fallenberg achieves the near-impossible, superbly crafting an altogether unique Holocaust story made plausible through utterly gripping realism.”

Review quote:

“The poetic [When We Danced on Water] is read easily in a few sittings, and the light of Tel Aviv, the pure beauty and sensuality of dance and the powerful affirmation of life, are deeply felt.”

Review quote:

“The sensitivity that Fallenberg brings to the writing devoted to Teo’s life as a dancer in the Danish Royal Ballet, in the wings and on stage, is passionately evocative.”

Review quote:

“When We Danced on Water is a haunting, beautifully written story about the unlikely friendship between two artists...Fallenberg’s novel is exquisite.”

Review quote:

“When We Danced on Water is literary fiction that reads like a long short story. Packed with intensity in both plot and psychology, its effect is disproportionate to its brevity. Reading about Teo and Vivi is like experiencing a lifelong relationship with each protagonist.”

Short description/annotation:

Fromacclaimed author Evan Fallenberg, an exquisitelycrafted debut novel tells the story of a preeminent male ballet dancer in theautumn of his career—a Jew whose talent once saved him from the Nazis—whosefading passion for life will flare back to life after a new romance links himto a younger woman fleeing the ghosts of her past as an Israeli Soldier. Fallenberg’s Tel Aviv-set tale that will resonate withreaders of Wladyslaw Szpilman’sThe Pianist, Dalia Sofer’sThe Septembers of Shiraz, and Thrity Umrigar’s The Space Between Us, as well as any whohave been touched by war or diaspora, as two characters’ intimate journeypoignantly explores the pain of fractured pasts, the hope for second chances, thepotency of artistic catharsis, and the certainty that love can conquer all.


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