Mid-August and two boys lie on the abandoned ski jump in Minnow Lake. Water laps onto the old plywood ramp. There is talk of mud, goosebumps, and frogs. The humid air transports the muted thump of a basketball from the local dance hall atop the escarpment. The quiet is punctured with the staggered pop of gun practice in nearby woods. At 15, Adrian knows this day as the last day that life was normal.
Set in 1970, Dance Hall Road examines adolescence and adulthood, friendship and family within the ricochet of events through small-town life. When the death of another high school student pushes the Town into collective despair, harsh gossip and casually dropped pellets of blame take seed. Currents of anger and frustration are, in turn, meted out in the scapegoating of those who are decidedly different.
Told through two narratives in parallel time, we simultaneously follow the chronology of rural life, death, and sexuality alongside Adrian's present distress and reckoning of consequences. With a keen sense of the human experience, Marion Douglas portrays her characters with unflinching empathy. Evocative and multi-layered, Dance Hall Road invokes the contradictions of connection within the tenuous balance of regret and hope.
Praise for Dance Hall Road
"Marion Douglas is the queen of small-town strangeness, and Dance Hall Road is a gripping, moving, darkly hilarious web of lives."
Emma Donoghue, author of Slammerkin