By blending the eyewitness accounts of letters with historical fiction, ANIMAL DANCES creates an engaging story of a young man conscripted into war, who discovers an unknown capacity to be bold and decisive, while enduring unimaginable hardship. Before the war, he and Fannie cavorted carefree and rebellious with indecent abandon to the ragtime beat of the Animal Dances. That is a distant memory now as Harry struggles to survive the devastation of the Western Front while driving a wagon carrying a lethal cargo. Back home, his family grapples with a killing flu, and Fannie seeks to ease her fear that he will not come home. Surviving the searing yellow gas, Harry returns to find nothing the same, and only his war buddies save him from horrible memories. As life passes, he asks if it could have been different. This is a WWI story beyond the trenches, where men toil in constant danger, in a conflict that will impact them for a lifetime.
Email book review:
Jim, my old but not chronologically old friend,
Prompted by your request, I have just reread Animal Dances. In fact, what I really did was to read for the first time the real, finished, tangible, hold-it-in- your-hand book. It is a different beast, gone from an engaging and promising work to a masterful and moving one with real narrative force, verve, and authenticity. It manages to subtly instruct on things and principles without preaching and teaching. It makes great emotional and narrative sense (now I see why what happened to Harry and Fannie had to happen; I’m glad you got them reconciled). Like doin’ the Grizzly, it moves with speed and passion. It is funny enough. The sex is good. It surprises. It is wise.
I have just posted my Amazon review (attached). I could only give it 5 stars because a 6th was not available.
Await the movie. Maybe Peter Jackson will do it.
Well damn done, my friend.