Saturday, 23 February 2013

They Shoot Horses Don’t They? - Horace McCoy



“One hundred and forty-four couples entered the marathon dance but sixty-one dropped out for the first week.”


This is one of those instances where I have read the book after watching the movie. Perhaps it is a mark of a great work where neither medium impedes on appreciation on the other.

There is something so immediate about the novel. The short clipped chapters are as full of momentum as the dance competition which will seemingly never end. The suffering of the unemployed in the depression era is played upon for its entertainment value, where rich people flaunt their wealth and enjoy watching poor dancers over exert themselves in an effort to win money. This is no easy money solution.

The shifts in time mean the tragic ending is known from the beginning, and yet this does nothing to alter its impact. The reader is carried along in such a fashion, so as to understand why Robert Syverten, would-be director, might commit murder as a way to release Gloria from her trials. Not the kind of book to read for a great time, clearly. That said, being currently between jobs, it is somewhat reassuring to think that things are not as bad as all that - no need for dancing shoes just yet.  5 out of 5 - despite a pregnant woman running a marathon in a tracksuit.

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