Fiction SALLEY VICKERS Dancing Backwards

ISBN 13: 9780007143153

Dancing Backwards

3.35 avg rating
( 512 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780007143153: Dancing Backwards

The brilliant new work from the bestselling author of `Miss Garnet's Angel' and `The Other Side of You'.Violet Hetherington has taken the rash step of joining a transatlantic cruise ship to New York to visit Edwin, an old friend. As she makes the six day crossing, she relives the traumatic events that led to her losing Edwin's friendship, and abandoning her career as a poet, for the safety of marriage and domesticity.Despite her natural reserve, she meets a rich variety of passengers travelling with her, who affect her understanding of her own past. Most significantly, she meets Dino, the dance host, whose motives in befriending Vi are shady, but who teaches her to ballroom dance - and inadvertently helps her to recover from her past.Moving between the late sixties and the present day, `Dancing Backwards' is written with the lightness of touch and psychological insight which characterise Salley Vickers' acclaimed work. This bittersweet novel is subtle, poignant and wonderfully entertaining.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Salley Vickers divides her time between London and Venice. Previously a university lecturer in English, when not writing she practices as a psychologist and still lectures widely on the connections between literature, psychology and religion.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1 ‘What on earth have I done?’ Violet Hetherington asked herself. She was standing in one of several queues in the dock at Southampton. The queues, by now spilling out of the cattle shed marked ‘Departures’, to board the Queen Caroline were long and none was moving. ‘It’s best to get to the docks late,’ her friend Annie had advised. ‘If you get there too early you can grow roots hanging about.’ Annie, married to a diplomat and full of advice, was a seasoned traveller. But on this occasion her advice was mistaken. After a while an announcement came through the loudspeakers: there had been a ‘breakdown in the computer system’. In the face of this setback the atmosphere among the waiting passengers darkened. Some attempted patience, some brave souls even tried to rise to jollity but for the most part the mood became rebellious. The world was going to the dogs and they had paid good money – through the nose, many were inclined to feel – for this voyage. It might be their last chance for a bit of luxury. That they could not even be got aboard efficiently did not promise well. Vi’s own instinct was to turn tail. She felt in her bag for her phone and discovered that it was missing. This was a good deal more annoying than the length of the queues. It confirmed an uneasy sense that the whole idea of a cruise was one of her mistakes. She hated any form of group activity and here she was, thrown to the lions and entirely of her own doing. And now there was the nuisance of the phone. Either she had left the wretched thing behind or she had lost it at some point on the journey to the port. She couldn’t ring the minicab company to check because the number – along with all her other numbers – was stored in her phone. The very error that her elder son Harry was always counselling her to avoid. Behind her in the queue stood an approachable-looking couple. ‘I’m sorry but, stupidly, I seem to have left my mobile behind. I couldn’t borrow yours to make one call, could I?’ Vi rang Harry on the obliging couple’s phone and left a message asking him to ask Kristina, her Polish cleaner, if she would check to see whether the phone had been left behind. If it was not in her flat then she was going to be in trouble, since she had no other means of finding the numbers she needed in New York. A large part of her thought, Good riddance! But this she did not confide to Harry. Harry had come to the view early in life that if not older than his mother he was a good deal more worldly wise. Daniel, her younger son, was more sympathetic to her foibles but that was because he shared them. Dan might easily forget to give Kristina the message at all. The couple whose phone she had borrowed remarked that they had also arrived late expecting to avoid the crowds. ‘It was a breeze last time,’ the woman, a tall blonde with a ponytail and cowboy boots, recalled. ‘We walked straight on. I’m Jen, by the way. He’s Ken.’ She nodded towards her companion, a broad-shouldered man with a lot of reddish chest hair. ‘Ken and Jen Morrison,’ the man said. ‘We’re a double singing act.’ ‘Really?’ Vi was impressed. ‘I’m Violet Hetherington. Vi.’ ‘He’s just kidding. Don’t be daft.’ Jen whacked her husband’s chest with a copy of Elle. ‘We did think of doing a singing act when we first met, because of Van Morrison,’ Ken explained. A gold Star of David was visible beneath his shirt. ‘But her over there sings like a neutered cat.’ ‘Charming,’ Jen said equably. ‘Look out, we’re on the move.’ The press of people moved urgently forward, although, as Ken remarked, the boat could hardly leave without them. Reaching the head of their queue at last, Vi parted from the helpful Morrisons and was ushered towards a window where she handed over her travel documents, credit card and submitted to a photograph for the security pass that acted on the cruise in place of money. As she prepared to go aboard, a man stepped forward with another camera. ‘Is this necessary?’ She detested having her photo taken. ‘Smile nicely,’ a young woman in uniform suggested. ‘But is it a requirement?’ ‘Excuse me?’ ‘I do not want another photograph of myself unless it is a requirement for boarding the ship.’ ‘Not a problem,’ said the girl. ‘It just makes a nice souvenir of your trip.’ She made the hint of an eyebrow gesture towards the photographer, who was not bad-looking and was booked for the whole of the world cruise. ‘Go right ahead, madam.’ A couple already wearing Queen Caroline sweatshirts had squeezed past and were now blocking the way as they posed, arm round each other’s waist. Vi waited while they pronounced ‘Sex’ for the photographer and everyone had laughed heartily and then, thank goodness, she was walking up what she supposed would once have been a gangplank but was now an arcade adorned with ugly pots of artificial plants. The ship’s foyer resembled one of the not-so-grand hotels that have set their sights too high. There were panels of shining fake walnut, extravagant cascades of chandeliers, polished brass plating and carpets patterned in the style commonly found at airports. Vi followed the signs to the ‘Elevators’ which were lined floor to ceiling with mirrors and crammed with passengers who, bedraggled from early morning starts, luggage disposal and the incurable anxiety induced by travel arrangements, might have preferred to be spared the sight of their multiple reflections. Squashed against the side of the lift by a party of voluble Germans, Vi felt claustrophobia mount along with the lift, which moved upward, stopping at each floor to release a tide of thankful prisoners. But, at last, at the twelfth floor, she stepped out to freedom. And, thank heaven, her room had the balcony she had requested. She had been anxiously rehearsing what to say if it had not. Ignoring Annie’s suggestion that she wait for a last-minute deal, she had thrown caution to the winds and paid the highest price she could afford in order to be sure of the sea. The cabin was fitted out in the same would-be-luxury hotel style. The bathroom taps were in the shape of gilded swans, the beaks acting, disconcertingly, as spouts. The bedroom was plain enough, with a double bed covered by a heavy gold counterpane, a desk and chair, a brown velour sofa and, on the wall, three pictures: a field of poppies, a still life of some seashells and a solemn-looking couple in what appeared to be Dutch national dress. Vi examined this to see if it could be removed; but it was screwed to the wall, presumably against the Atlantic swell. She made a mental resolution to pack a screwdriver in future and was unpacking her books when there was a tap at the door and a small man, whose smile revealed excellent teeth, entered and introduced himself as Renato, her steward. He enquired after the state of her health, pledged himself to her service and instructed her about the changing time zones. ‘Each day, madam, the clock is set back one hour.’ This was the first piece of good news. It had not occurred to her that rather than wasting time she might actually be acquiring it. Renato also informed her of an impending safety drill. ‘Guests must assemble for drill in main salon, Deck Three, to practise drill in case of emergency.’ ‘You mean like the Titanic?’ Renato laughed heartily. ‘Yes. The Titanic. Very famous. You see the show?’ Vi said she had seen the film. ‘The show is better. I see it on Broadway. Very good dance.’ Renato, it emerged, was a ballroom dance devotee. He explained that before their marriage he had won numerous medals with his wife. ‘Where is your wife, Renato?’ ‘She is in the Philippines. She and the kiddies.’ ‘That seems a shame. You must miss her.’ ‘Oh no.’ He smiled brilliantly. ‘Much better she stay home with the kiddies.’ When Vi returned from the drill (conducted amid general, and to her alienating, hilarity) she stepped outside, on to her balcony, to watch the ship get under way. The ship slid out of harbour so gradually that it barely registered that they were on the move. Impossible not to feel a thrill at the sheer enterprise of the thing. A little way off, a fishing trawler was making a white wake. A piece of foam detached itself and became a solitary bird, which flew up into the unblemished sky. A memory of walking along a pebbled seashore on the Suffolk coast, with the gulls crying their cold hearts out in the sky above, assailed her. Well, she had embarked on a voyage of recovery: she must expect these stabs from the past. She squinted her eyes trying to make out the bird performing a graceful arc above her now. An arctic or a common tern? It was too far off to distinguish. It would have to be a comic tern. A summary of the dining regime had been included in the information sent in advance of the voyage. Vi was in the Alexandria Grill, one of the upper echelons of the ship’s hierarchical dining system. The ‘dress code for tonight in the Alexandria’, she read, was ‘casual elegant’, whatever that meant. She put on a sleeveless linen shift and a plain black jacket. Too bad if it was not sufficiently elegant, or casual. There was the question of what to do with her jewellery, Ted’s jewellery: the diamond, sapphire and emerald hoops he had ...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Salley Vickers
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2010)
ISBN 10: 000714315X ISBN 13: 9780007143153
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The brilliant new work from the bestselling author of `Miss Garnet s Angel and `The Other Side of You .Violet Hetherington has taken the rash step of joining a transatlantic cruise ship to New York to visit Edwin, an old friend. As she makes the six day crossing, she relives the traumatic events that led to her losing Edwin s friendship, and abandoning her career as a poet, for the safety of marriage and domesticity.Despite her natural reserve, she meets a rich variety of passengers travelling with her, who affect her understanding of her own past. Most significantly, she meets Dino, the dance host, whose motives in befriending Vi are shady, but who teaches her to ballroom dance - and inadvertently helps her to recover from her past.Moving between the late sixties and the present day, `Dancing Backwards is written with the lightness of touch and psychological insight which characterise Salley Vickers acclaimed work. This bittersweet novel is subtle, poignant and wonderfully entertaining. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007143153

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
6.94
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

SALLEY VICKERS
ISBN 10: 000714315X ISBN 13: 9780007143153
New Paperback Jan 01, 1990 Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Arbor Scout
(Ann Arbor, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Paperback Jan 01, 1990. Book Condition: New. New. Bookseller Inventory # 9U-3FOW-YI28

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
4.35
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.03
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Salley Vickers
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2010)
ISBN 10: 000714315X ISBN 13: 9780007143153
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The brilliant new work from the bestselling author of `Miss Garnet s Angel and `The Other Side of You .Violet Hetherington has taken the rash step of joining a transatlantic cruise ship to New York to visit Edwin, an old friend. As she makes the six day crossing, she relives the traumatic events that led to her losing Edwin s friendship, and abandoning her career as a poet, for the safety of marriage and domesticity.Despite her natural reserve, she meets a rich variety of passengers travelling with her, who affect her understanding of her own past. Most significantly, she meets Dino, the dance host, whose motives in befriending Vi are shady, but who teaches her to ballroom dance - and inadvertently helps her to recover from her past.Moving between the late sixties and the present day, `Dancing Backwards is written with the lightness of touch and psychological insight which characterise Salley Vickers acclaimed work. This bittersweet novel is subtle, poignant and wonderfully entertaining. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007143153

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
7.47
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Salley Vickers
Published by Fourth Estate 2010-03-04 (2010)
ISBN 10: 000714315X ISBN 13: 9780007143153
New Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
Chiron Media
(Wallingford, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Fourth Estate 2010-03-04, 2010. Book Condition: New. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is 24-48 hours from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Bookseller Inventory # NU-GRD-00457507

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
6.23
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.99
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Salley Vickers
Published by Fourth Estate (2010)
ISBN 10: 000714315X ISBN 13: 9780007143153
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Monster Bookshop
(Fleckney, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Fourth Estate, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. BRAND NEW ** SUPER FAST SHIPPING FROM UK WAREHOUSE ** 30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000180270

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
7.44
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 1.99
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Salley Vickers
Published by Fourth Estate 2010-03-04 (2010)
ISBN 10: 000714315X ISBN 13: 9780007143153
New Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
Chiron Media
(Wallingford, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Fourth Estate 2010-03-04, 2010. Book Condition: New. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is 24-48 hours from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Bookseller Inventory # NU-HCL-00014484

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
7.14
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.99
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Salley Vickers
Published by Fourth Estate (2010)
ISBN 10: 000714315X ISBN 13: 9780007143153
New Softcover Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
Rating
[?]

Book Description Fourth Estate, 2010. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # GH9780007143153

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
8.29
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.69
From Germany to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Vickers, Salley
Published by Fourth Estate (2010)
ISBN 10: 000714315X ISBN 13: 9780007143153
New Softcover Quantity Available: 9
Rating
[?]

Book Description Fourth Estate, 2010. Book Condition: New. 2010. Paperback. The brilliant new work from the bestselling author of 'Miss Garnet's Angel' and 'The Other Side of You'. Num Pages: 272 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 130 x 17. Weight in Grams: 208. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780007143153

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
11.12
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From Ireland to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Salley Vickers
Published by Fourth Estate
ISBN 10: 000714315X ISBN 13: 9780007143153
New Paperback Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Fourth Estate. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Bookseller Inventory # B9780007143153

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
4.20
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 6.94
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Vickers, Salley
Published by Fourth Estate
ISBN 10: 000714315X ISBN 13: 9780007143153
New Softcover Quantity Available: 9
Seller:
Kennys Bookstore
(Olney, MD, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Fourth Estate. Book Condition: New. 2010. Paperback. The brilliant new work from the bestselling author of 'Miss Garnet's Angel' and 'The Other Side of You'. Num Pages: 272 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 130 x 17. Weight in Grams: 208. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780007143153

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
11.29
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book