Violet Hetherington has taken the rash step of joining a transatlantic cruise to New York to visit Edwin, an old friend. As she makes the six-day crossing, she relives the traumatic events that led to her losing Edwin’s friendship and abandoning her career as a poet for the safety of marriage and domesticity.
Despite her natural reserve, she meets a rich variety of passengers traveling with her, who affect her understanding of her own past. Most significant, she meets Dino, the dancing host, whose motives in befriending Vi are shady but who teaches her to ballroom dance and inadvertently helps her to recover from her past. Moving between the late sixties and the present day, Dancing Backwards is written with the lightness of touch and psychological insight that characterize Salley Vickers’s acclaimed work. This bittersweet novel is subtle, poignant, and wonderfully entertaining.