Looking for the Possible Dance

danceMary Margaret Hamilton was educated in Scotland. She was born there too. These may not have been the best possible options, but they were the only ones on offer at the time. Although her father did his best, her knowledge of life is perhaps a little incomplete. Margaret knows the best way to look at the moon, how to wake on time and how to breathe fire. now she must learn how to live.

A.L.Kennedy’s absorbing, moving and gently political first novel dissects the intricate difficulties of human relationships, from Margaret’s passionate attachment to her father and her more problematic involvement with Colin, her lover, to the wider social relations between pupil and teacher, employer and employee, individual and state.

Written with the same quirky imagination and acute sensitivity to the workings of our inner lives which characterised her prize-winning stories, this novel confirms A.L.Kennedy’s reputation as one of the most interesting young writers to have emerged in recent years.

German edition (“Einladung Zum Tanz”) was published in 2001.



“…A.L.Kennedy, a writer rich in the humanity and warmth that seems at a premium in these bleak times, and who is also well able to handle a complex, layered narrative and to build to a shocking climax that is fully earned and not a bit gratuitous.”

ALK: Salman Rushdie A proper gent, that Mr. Rushdie.

“.. the anger is tempered by a lyrical sensuality and a wry humour that makes for a satisfying mixture.”
Mike Petty – Literary Review

“In an unflashy but finely felt way, this novel brings its quirky canniness to bear on a wide range of human relations.”
Paul Taylor – Independent on Sunday


“The lack of narrative focus in the book is only enhanced by its complicated time scheme…”
Lucasta Miller – The Times

“Dance of Boredom”
Eben Smith – Willenhall Adnews, Chase Post, Stafford Post, Wolverhampton Adnews

ALK: I love syndicated reviews.


“That final phrase with its arresting elision of “beneath their dignity” and “beyond them” (in the sense of not being able to make her out) beautifully conveys how incomprehension can merge into, or be confused with, hostility and distrust.”
Paul Taylor – Independent on Sunday

ALK: Yes, quite.