Out on 23 July 2020

Dance Prone

David Coventry

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23 July 2020
0 pages

Seconds apart in 1985, two seemingly unrelated events change the course of many lives.

One person is sexually assaulted and another is wounded with a gunshot to the head. These two incidents are connected by two members of Neues Bauen, a hardcore American punk band. The group consists of the book’s narrator, the singer and guitarist Conrad, alongside drummer Spence, bassist Angel, and fellow guitarist Tone.

Thirty four years later, in 2019, Conrad flies to North Africa to track down Tone. The two men recall what happened in the subsequent years starting with the tour that followed closely after the two violent acts. This tour was dominated by music, violence, art, philosophy, and another terrible act that will overshadow their lives for years to come as they all try to comprehend what happened to her, Conrad and Tony.

Dance Prone is a novel of music, ritual and love. It is live, tense and corporeal. Full of closely observed details of punk rock, of performance, the road and the relationships between players both real and fictional. It traverses landscape and time, investigating our relationship with history, memory, authenticity, culpability for violence and its transcendence through the act of art.

Set simultaneously during the post-punk period and the narrative present of 2019, Dance Prone was born out of a love of the underground and indie rock scenes of the 1980s, a fascination for their role in the cultural apparatus of memory, social decay and its reconstruction.

Praise for David Coventry's last book, The Invisible Mile
Bruising, beautiful and ultimately transcendent, there's a perfect thought on sport, humanity or endurance on just about every page - Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief

I thought it was absorbing, and on many levels. It's a book about violence, youth, mythology, history, guilt and love - all set to the agonising rhythm of an inhuman bike race. Some achievement! Fictionalised accounts of sporting events don't always work, but this has the same feeling of total immersion as I remember feeling when I read David Peace's The Damned United - Ned Boulting, cycling broadcaster and author

Armchair Olympians who pine for some purer, pre-doping epoch of competitive sports might resist this gorgeous bummer of a period novel, narrated by a cyclist from New Zealand who ingests cocaine, ephedrine and little white booster pills in between sprints ... Coventry’s brooding narrative, in varying parts philosophical action-adventure, travelogue, family drama, war chronicle and psychological puzzler, is suffused with the ever-querying perspective of its haunted central character ... sumptuous language. - The New York Times