Anna's Dance

A Balkan Odyssey

Fiction - Literary
311 Pages
Reviewed on 04/29/2020
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Author Biography

A New Englander by birth, I moved to Northern Virginia and then kept wandering farther south, to Chapel Hill, North Carolina and New Orleans. As a child I loved music and studied piano seriously. But besides playing classical pieces, as a soloist or in chamber music ensembles, I came to love the unique tonalities and rhythms of Turkish, Bulgarian, and Yugoslav music and the dances they inspired. Anna shares this love.
I also had an addiction to books and studied languages to read my favorites in the original: French, Spanish, and Latin in high school, Russian and Greek in college and graduate school. This foundation made picking up other tongues much easier.
My degree in History and love of literature led me to a PhD in Comparative Literature and years spent teaching and writing about European, Russian, and, especially, Balkan literature, culture, and history. But in between parenting and chairing a department, I yearned to write a novel about these places and people I love, hoping to bring them alive, to penetrate their complex histories, to capture their distinctive vitality.
When my husband and I returned to North Carolina, our little oasis in nature enabled me to focus on my writing. So I did, with my two aging cats either on my lap or somewhere nearby. My three kids and seven grandkids now live within an hour’s drive, and I still enjoy dancing weekly to Balkan rhythms. I have become the kind of baba Anna hopes to emulate.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Anna’s Dance: A Balkan Odyssey is a work of literary fiction penned by author Michele Levy. Conveying realistic life events, the work may not be suitable for some more sensitive adult readers due to sexual content and references to rape. The central plot concerns the titular character Anna during the year of 1968. Anna has a largely Jewish-American heritage which has always given her pause for thought, and during a summer trip to Europe, she is forced to face some stark questions about her own fears and problems with identity. What results is a highly emotive and character-driven narrative that perfectly captures one young woman’s experience of coming of age.

To say that this is a romantic novel is to use the classic sense of the word, in that author Michele Levy has crafted a highly emotive reading experience that places deep feeling at the heart of every thought and action. We explore Anna’s passions and deep-seated fears through the medium of her travels, and the world becomes a colorful and illustrative backdrop to her emotive experiences. As such, Levy's commitment to character development runs deep through every page of the novel, with a close narrative style and descriptive talent that presents Anna’s thoughts and speech in an intimately telling way. The travels into Eastern Europe are brought to life with gorgeous historical accuracy that only adds to the overall atmosphere of the novel itself. Overall, I would highly recommend Anna's Dance to fans of accomplished literary fiction and emotive coming of age tales.

Nancy Holford

Reading about Anna’s Balkan Odyssey brings the reader right into it. Lovely book.