Come Dance With Me by Russell Hoban, Bloomsbury Press, Feb 2005
With Hoban’s Woody Allen wit and his uniquely characteristic conversational tone-environment, there’s a lot of space for the reader to settle down. This is slow, character-driven stuff – not big on plot, but a human story.
The story centres on a love affair between 54-year-old Christabel Anderton, ageing rock chick, 54, and 62-year-old Elias Newman, diabetes consultant at a London hospital. Christabel is convinced she is a ‘bad-luck carrier’, since watching a pleasure boat on the River Lea at thirteen and knowing that the passengers would be killed; four of her lovers and her only son have died in freak accidents. When she meets Elias, she tries to protect him.
This novel doesn’t have the verve of Fremder, or the sheer intoxication of Riddley Walker. In this, perhaps his last novel, the ailing Hoban has returned to the form and feel of his first adult novel, Turtle Diary. This is no bad thing; give me any one of Hoban’s novels to read above the best of almost anyone else’s.