February 3, 2012 by Reader's Connection
Violet Hetherington is an English woman who wrote some poetry in her youth. Widowed in her middle age, she´s thinking about writing again. Lucky for the reader, she doesn´t stare out the window and try to dream up poems. She gets on a boat and sails to America, to visit an old poet friend.
There’s humor on every oceangoing page of Dancing Backwards. Yes, it’s a soulful voyage, and Vi looks back over some painful life passages. Yes, author Salley Vickers was once a psychoanalyst, and Vi’s journey is an Atlantic-borne five-day self-analysis.
But she learns to foxtrot, and the theft of her diamond ring leads to intrigue, and she tends to bring out the best in some of her fellow passengers. Miss Foot–who sees Vi’s aura and is thought of by some passengers as a nut–turns out to have real perceptions. And the savage theatre critic becomes quite lovable in Vi’s company.
As for the painful flashbacks: Even if the dreadful man with whom Vi was once involved is humorless, and even if she allows him to behave at his worst, he is memorable, like something out of Edgar Allan Poe. (He’s not a fantasy character at all, but he has this purse made out of a bat’s wing.)
Vi has gone through some changes when she reaches New York, and it was a pleasure to have accompanied her on the journey.