Thursday, October 11, 2012

Meg Howrey

Meg Howrey is a classically trained dancer who has performed with the Joffrey, Los Angeles Opera, and City Ballet of Los Angeles. She made her theatrical debut at Lincoln Center, and toured with the Broadway production of Contact, for which she won the 2001 Ovation Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Her latest novel is The Cranes Dance.

Last month I asked Howrey what she was reading.  Her reply:
I was asked recently to write about my favorite backstage novels and I included in the list a childhood favorite: Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes. Searching through the Internet for a little background on the author, I discovered that Ballet Shoes was actually based on Streatfeild’s first book, an adult novel called The Whicharts, which I promptly ordered. The Whicharts has all the same characters as Ballet Shoes, the same basic premise, even many of the same sentences, but things are not quite so heart-warming and charming. An equivalent reading experience might be if one learned that The Wizard of Oz was based on an early adult novel of L. Frank Baum’s, and in that book Oz is this sort of tawdry carnival Dorothy works at, The Tin Man is a bit of letch, the Scarecrow gets Glinda the Good Witch pregnant, and Toto has mange. It’s probably a way more accurate depiction of London theatrical life in the 20’s than Ballet Shoes, but I wasn’t prepared and read it in one disturbed evening.

So to lighten the mood I turned to Edward St. Aubyn’s The Patrick Melrose Novels, where in four books we have incestuous rape, heroin addiction, alcoholism, a lost inheritance and a couple of excruciating dinner parties. This may sound like it’s not for the faint of heart, but if that’s true then one simply needs to get a stronger heart and read these books. The Patrick Melrose Novels are stylish, witty, acute, searing, hilarious and brilliantly executed. In and around and underneath all the delicious dialogue, the coruscating portraits, the paragraph after paragraph of lightning bolt writing, is a novel of ideas. Big ones. Read with a pencil handy for underlining.
Visit Meg Howrey's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Cranes Dance.

--Marshal Zeringue