Penguin Canada

  • Anglais Black Dance

    Nancy Huston

    Screenwriter Milo Noirlac is dying. He lies in the dark of his hospital room, voices from Milo’s past and present--real and imagined--swirl about his head, each taking on the rhythm of his favourite Brazilian fight-dance, the capoiera. Seated next to him, Milo’s partner, bumptious director Paul Schwartz, coaxes Milo through his life story, from the abuse he suffered as a foster child to his lost heritage--his great-grandfather’s ostentatious wealth. As Milo narrates, his story becomes the couple’s final screenplay, the movie that will be their masterpiece. With Milo’s imagination in full flight, several generations of Noirlac ancestors-- voices in French and English, German and Dutch, Cree and Gaelic--come to life. There’s ignominious Irish rebel poet Neil Kerrigan, classmate of “Jimmy” Joyce and aspiring activist in the fight against British occupation; Neil’s son’s lover, Indian teen prostitute and Milo’s biological mother, Awinita; abandoned Brazilian baby Eugénio, a street child whom Milo finds and fosters; and Marie-Thérèse, Milo’s tough-as-nails aunt. As each voice cascades through Milo’s memory, an important piece of family, and world history is formed. Packed with humour and pathos, and written with Huston’s signature vivacity, Black Dance is a rich portrait of one man’s life and death--a swirling, sensual dance of a novel from an exceptional and rare literary voice.

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