Author: Richard G. Sharp
Genre: Historical Fiction
Summary: The Duke Don’t Dance is a sophisticated novel that follows the lives of seven characters through four decades. It opens with Frank’s funeral and then Sharp takes the reader back in time to follow their careers, marriages, divorces and the challenges each of the characters face. Sharp intertwines a chalk load of history throughout the book using crisp rich dialogue. The theme of the novel centers around what Sharp refers to as the ‘silent generation.’ Sharp’s silent generation refers to those born in the 1927-1945 with his novel focused on the 1960’s through the early 1990’s. The author attributes this generation, his generation, with inventing rock ‘n roll, starting the movement towards racial equality, opening doors to sexual revolution and feminist awakening. Each character is unique; each has their own agenda and each comes to realize that agendas aren’t always something they can make happen.
Quotation: (in regards to finding the words The Dukes Don’t Dance found written above a urinal)
"As Sam had suggested, the phrase must be the words of the prophets—or at least a prophet—proclaiming the non-existence of God or the unresponsiveness of any divine being to the supplications of mortals. No matter what you ask or pray for, The Duke will not dance."
Opinion: There is little doubt that Sharp is a gifted writer. But following seven lives over a span of forty years, The Duke Don’t Dance needs a lot more much information for the reader to connect. I feel the book was hurried and incomplete. With the kind of talent Sharp has, it seems a sin to rush through forty years when there’s so much to tell. I wanted to know more; more of who each one is, more gut-level raw emotion and more of how each faced their individual challenges.
Also, many sentences rambled and the point seemed to be lost in too much verbiage. Again, I feel this could have been remedied by giving the novel the time it deserves.
Recommendation: Recommended for those who make up the ‘silent generation,’ readers who would like to know more about this era, or for those who would enjoy reading the first book of who I feel is an up and coming author.
Rating: 3.5 stars
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