Blasts from the Past: The Next Step in the Dance by Tim Gautreaux (1998)

Cover imageThis is the latest in a series of occasional posts featuring books I read years ago about which I was wildly enthusiastic at the time, wanting to press a copy in as many hands as I could.

The Next Step in the Dance is one of those novels that inexplicably – to me, anyway – went out of print in the UK for some time. I’m pleased to say that it’s been rescued by Fox, Finch and Tepper, a tiny publisher set up by my lovely local indie bookshop, Mr B’s, and has been reissued sporting a rather fetching jacket.

Set in Louisiana, Tim Gautreaux’ debut is a love story, and a very stormy one at that. Paul Thibodeaux loves nothing more than to go dancing on a Saturday night, happy to return to his job as a mechanic on Monday morning. He adores his smart, beautiful wife, Colette, but she wants more than smalltown gossip and a rundown dance hall for entertainment. Frustrated by Paul’s lack of ambition and tendency to stray, Colette takes herself off to California, swiftly followed by a bereft Paul who then follows her back again.

Doesn’t sound much, I know, but what lifts this book far above a run-of-the-mill domestic novel Mr B's Emporiusm of Reading Delights (sign)is Gautreaux’ vibrant descriptions of the Louisiana landscape and culture. He writes with wit, insight and a compassionate, clear-eyed view of human nature. You don’t have to make your way to Mr B’s to buy a copy – it’s available online – but should you be passing I recommend a visit.

What about you, any blasts from the past you’d like to share?

11 thoughts on “Blasts from the Past: The Next Step in the Dance by Tim Gautreaux (1998)

  1. heavenali

    I like novels where perhaps nothing much happens, that are about the small, quiet lives people lead and their relationships. This sounds very much like that kind of book.

    Reply
    1. Poppy Peacock

      Agree with Ali… sometimes the best stories are the everyday lives of ordinary folk but the authors manage to evoke an extraordinary sensitivity, from often common circumstances or emotions etc form a unique approach. This does sound like one of those books.

      Reply
  2. kerry swash

    I absolutely loved that book. Now avoiding my Monday morning work desk to ferret about on my bookshelves for it!

    Reply
  3. madamebibilophile

    I’ve not heard of this author but this sounds very appealing, not least because I’ve just finished a Carson McCullers novel & am in the mood for more southern tales!

    Reply

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