Dance Move

Wendy Erskine

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17 February 2022
240 pages


'I could not put this book down and loved every page.' - Salena Godden

'Humane, funny, surprising, profound.' - Chris Power

'A masterpiece.' - David Keenan

Meet Drew Lord Haig, called upon to sing the obscure hit from his youth at a paramilitary event. Or Max, who recalls an eventful journey to a Christian film festival. Meet Mrs Dallesandro, in the tanning salon on her wedding anniversary dreaming of a teenage sexual experience. And Sonya, who scours the streets of Belfast for the missing posters of her dead son.

In Dance Move, the new collection of stories from Wendy Erskine, we meet characters who are looking to wrest control of their lives, only to find themselves defined by the moment in their past that marked them.

In these stories – as in real life – the funny, the tender and the devastating go hand in hand. Full of warmth, the familiar and the strange, they are about what it means to live in the world, how far you can end up from where you came from, and what it means to look back.

Erskine is less interested in dispensing wisdom than in evoking the ambient pathos of ordinary lives. The understated yet distinctive sensibility first showcased in her 2018 debut collection, Sweet Home, is well honed in this impressive follow-up.


The stories are never sentimental, nor do they strain credulity. What grounds them is Erskine’s distinctive style: she is a great noticer, with an eye for microscopic detail, and pays close attention to the syntax and cadences of ordinary conversation. . . She is also extremely funny.


A spectacular feat in the short story form . . . Erskine’s Dance Move has such a beautiful deftness of touch that in writing the intricacies and intimacies between people in their most vulnerable moments, there is a tenderness felt by the reader which surpasses words.'

Caught By The River