And he certainly didn’t hold my interest either…
That sounds a little harsh, I know, but it’s the truth. The Duke Don’t Dance has a lot of potential, the blurb actually sounded reasonably interesting (as you’ll see below), but I just couldn’t commit to sitting down and reading for more than about 15 minutes at a time. I struggled to push myself to keep reading. Having said that, the blurb does tote the book as accessible to Gen Y’s – which I am – so perhaps the word ‘most’ should be inserted in there?
Synopsis: “The Duke Don’t Dance” captures the spirit of the “Silent Generation;” those born too late to share the triumphs of the Greatest Generation, too early to know only the privilege of the Baby Boom ascendancy and in too few numbers to assure a proper identity and enduring legacy. The novel is as accessible to Generations X and Y as the aging contemporaries of the fading eras that followed World War II, told from their perspectives in each passing decade, not their retrospective views as elders.
The novel is set in Washington, DC and a number of domestic and foreign locations: Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War era, Africa during the struggles for independence, the Soviet Union and elsewhere. It follows the intermingled lives of several men and women of the Silent Generation. It is an irreverent journey through minefields of love, sex, race and social change that the protagonists first encounter as maturing adults in the post-World War II era, as their generation invents rock and roll, fills the streets in the struggle for racial equality, bleeds in the conflicts of the cold war and opens doors to the sexual revolution and feminist awakening.
Bookish things: 263 pages, this book covers approx. 50 years. The cover is basic and rather boring. It could benefit from a new cover that fits better with the style of the story.
Where to buy: On Amazon for $4.99 on kindle or $11.66 in paperback.
This book did little to hold my attention. It was a rather intricate look at a group of people who popped up in each others lives throughout the years spanning 1960 – 2011. The way it starts (at a funeral) was a slap in the face just weeks after I’d lost my grandfather, so the book was put on hold for 6 additional months. That did little to warm me to the book. I think it’s a poor choice to start a book like that and to introduce a lot of characters with little information to go on.
The following chapters led me to know the names, but not the characters and I had difficulty in working out if Ted was married to Lillian or Ari, if Triana was Franks kid or belonged to Sam…it was ultimately rather confusing with so many characters and children and constant criss-crossed lives.
I found that I would start a new chapter (usually a new year) and the general information about what was happening was interesting, some of it I remembered from school history or from news I’d seen in the later part of the book and others I didn’t know much about at all. I would start out interested but when the personal parts of the characters started to infiltrate the story I started to switch off. The day-to-day activities of the characters was boring, unneeded information that bogged down the book.
If you want realistic characters, you may enjoy this book. The characters were flawed, angry for no reason, fought with friends and loved ones, cheated, lied and loved, but I didn’t feel any sort of connection to them in the slightest.
My personal lack of interest in this book aside, if you want a book that covers the time (1960-2011) in fleeting detail then you might enjoy this. If you were born into ‘the silent generation’ you might be able to draw more comparisons to the characters, but I failed to.
**NOTE: I received an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review**
Keen to try out Richards book? I’d love to hear what you all think of this tale. You guys might love it.