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The Next Step in the Dance

por Tim Gautreaux

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1465146,241 (3.82)3
In swampy Tiger Island, Louisiana, lifelong residents and newlyweds Paul and Colett Thibodeaux are struggling to make their relationship work. A talented machinist, Paul savors the simple life--but Colette longs for more. The life she sees around her is just too familiar, run-down and depressing. When the levee finally breaks, she skips town for California. What will it take for Colette to see the good in her life?… (mais)
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Set in the swamplands of Louisiana this is the story of Colette, a highly determined and ambitions bank employee and her husband Paul, who is quite happy with his life as a machinist and has no ambition beyond being able to go to a bar and have a beer and a dance after work. It begins with Colette catching Paul out with another woman, and the reader's assumption is that he is a habitual philanderer. However I was surprised how quickly I realised my sympathies were largely with Paul, and despite the feeling that the intention of the book was for them to separate and then ultimately realise they were made for each other, it never did seem to me that they were a great match, and maybe they should have separated right then and there and have done with it.

My edition the book was the output of a small press who declare that their specialism is 'resurrecting under-celebrated, beautifully written books with a strong sense of place'. The book was originally published in 1998 and I wonder why it had been so 'under-celebrated'. For me, the problem was that it was so long winded. The writing was fine, and it did indeed have a strong sense of place, but for example setting page after page after page on a boat floating in the Gulf of Mexico wasn't going to give me a better sense of place than one more concise page might have done. Scenes just went on too long and had little to differentiate them. I hardly ever found myself on the edge of my seat. Perhaps the only time was the scene inside the boiler - now that was drama.

It was a relief to get to the last page, as it had been quite clear where the book was heading, I just had to slog along a long road to get there. I don't do book groups, but two book-group type questions did occur to me. Firstly - would the trajectory of the story have been different had the characters not been Catholic, with Catholic ideas of marriage and divorce, and secondly - did either of the protagonists really change at all - other than physically - during the course of the book. I'm not sure they did. ( )
  jayne_charles | Jun 25, 2016 |
An incredible writer, definitely one of my "re-read books". This man is a genius. ( )
  wbwilburn5 | Jun 13, 2012 |
I really enjoyed this novel by Tim Gautreaux. The characters are very well developed, and the sense of family and home is very powerful. I enjoyed Gautreaux's writing style and he draws out strong emotions as he tells the story of Paul and Collette. I've read several of the author's books, and will buy the remaining ones as well. ( )
  jspurdy | Aug 29, 2008 |
southern, cajun, romance, relationships, dialect ( )
  bstrauss | Jul 21, 2008 |
Good read. Really enjoyed Gautreaux's writing style. ( )
  magst | Jul 9, 2006 |
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In swampy Tiger Island, Louisiana, lifelong residents and newlyweds Paul and Colett Thibodeaux are struggling to make their relationship work. A talented machinist, Paul savors the simple life--but Colette longs for more. The life she sees around her is just too familiar, run-down and depressing. When the levee finally breaks, she skips town for California. What will it take for Colette to see the good in her life?

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