Meg Howrey's latest novel benefits greatly from the way dance instruction can apply to the text, simultaneously, as metaphor ... Carlisle's voice is ruminative and repetitive; often, the questions she asks herself reflect questions the reader may have. Howrey's prose is sharp and clear when dance is the subject ... The love affairs and familial estrangement are well-wrought and intriguing, but the finest aspect of this novel is the way Howrey captures the artistic process.
[Howrey] deftly arranges her characters’ betrayals, fidelities and accumulated disappointments to portray a family stymied by its own silences ... Carlisle’s first-person narration remains chilled for much of the book. We are privy to her feelings only insofar as she is ... The controlled performance is as grueling and gorgeous as a dance en pointe ... If the novel stumbles, it’s only as the denouement nears, when its steps can seem a bit too rehearsed ... But these become minor quibbles by the end, when Carlisle heartbreakingly articulates to herself a truth that is fully her own, no inheritance. In the way of the best endings, it has been thrumming beneath the surface all along, and now ricochets back over the rest of the novel, snapping it into sharper focus.
... a dance novel, but it is fundamentally a family drama that considers what makes relationships work and what makes them implode. The trappings of the dance world and Carlisle’s musings about her choreographic commissions form a rich tapestry around these themes ... Howrey brings an artist’s discipline to language. Her prose is lyrical, smooth, and thoroughly enjoyable. She is understated without being withholding ... Howrey is a master of unveiling the hidden emotional lives of her characters with grace and subtlety.