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The Short History of a Prince
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385479484, Paperback)Robert Sean Leonard (Much Ado About Nothing, Dead Poet's Society) brings a dramatic dimension to the bittersweet story of Walter McCloud, who has high hopes of becoming a ballet dancer. Leonard's flexible voice captures the thoughts and feelings of Walter both as a teenager and as a thirty-something high school teacher. The story begins with the star, an aspiring adolescent ballet dancer, coming to terms with his lack of talent when he is chosen to be the Prince in a third-rate production of the Nutcracker, while his friends dance lead roles in Chicago. The same winter, Walter has his first homosexual experience and his older brother becomes terminally ill. These profound events will haunt Walter for 20 years as he focuses on his coming to terms with his past tragedies and present shortcomings--making for a moving and often funny tale of forgiveness and understanding. Curiously, it is not his love of Balanchine, music and other refined aesthetics that restore a floundering Walter. The anchor he finds is a place, the family summer home on a lake in Wisconsin. It is Hamilton's ability to juxtapose the remarkable against the unremarkable that gives this work its poignancy and grace. --Anne Depue (Running Time: 4 Hours; Four Cassettes)
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:48 -0400)
Introduced as a child to the genius of Balanchine and the lyricism of Tchaikovsky, a boy has aspired to dancing the role of the prince in The Nutcracker. Walter McCloud is a boy with dreams unlike most. Introduced as a child to the genius of Balanchine and the lyricism of Tchaikovsky, Walter has always aspired to be a dancer. As he grows older, it becomes clear that despite his desire, he lacks the talent, and he faces the painful knowledge that his more gifted friends have already surpassed him. Soon, however, that pain is overshadowed when his older brother, Daniel, finds a strange lump on his neck and Walter realizes that a happy family can change overnight. The year that follows transforms the McClouds, as they try to hold together in the face of the fearful consequences of Daniel's illness, and Walter makes discoveries about himself and his friendships that will change him forever. Decades later, after Walter has left home and returned, he must come to terms with the memories of that year, and grapple once and for all with the challenge of carving out a place for himself in this all-too-familiar world. A moving story of the torments of sexuality and the redemptive power of family and friendship, The Short History of a Prince confirms Jane Hamilton's place as a preeminent novelist of our time.
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