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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

Dancing Lessons, by Olive Senior

Dzanc Ebooks

Dancing Lessons, by Olive Senior


Dancing Lessons, by Olive Senior

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Her mother’s death and her father’s madness leave G unloved and unwanted as a child. Her runaway marriage brings her children but not the fulfillment she yearns for. Many years later, a hurricane destroys her Jamaican country house where she now lives alone and she ends up—unwillingly—in a ritzy retirement home in the city, placed there by her well-to-do but distant daughter.

Displaced and angry, G is forced to deal with her seemingly incompatible housemates and the pain of her past. Surprisingly, she ends up learning to love and laugh, to reconnect with the children she thought she had lost, and to finally gain a sense of belonging.

Told in G’s voice as she writes in her journal—a newfound solace from pain—Dancing Lessonsis by turns sad, satirical, hilarious, and ultimately redemptive. It is infused with the cadences and color of Jamaica, yet it connects with anyone anywhere who engages with notions of family, love, loss, friendship, and belonging.


“This novel is a jewel that promises the reader a lesson in dancing to the right tune.”  —Jamaica Sunday Observer

“As a novel it is compelling, its heroine unforgettable. . . . A simply wonderful read.” —Globe and Mail


Jamaican-born Olive Senior is a poet, fiction writer, journalist, and editor, and one of Canada’s most internationally recognized and acclaimed authors. She won the inaugural Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1987 for her short story collection Summer Lightning and Other Stories and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for her poetry collection Over the Roofs of the World.