Having seen Wendy Erskine read from her short story collection, Dance Move, at Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2022, I jumped at the chance to review these fleshed out tales. With an instinctive ability to craft such substance in these stories, Erskine’s reputation as a writer is immeasurable. Potently capturing trauma and woe, she injects dark humour through her works, a trademark that defines her effectual style.
Dance Move is a collection of eleven stories, and like any other collection there are those that you are drawn to and hold dear in your mind (and those that don’t), long after the book has been put down. However, the notable thing that Erskine does throughout is inspire you to feel something for every single one of the characters: whether it be concern for Gillian and Tracey, sympathy for Roberta, disdain for Marty and Rhonda, or frustration with Kate and Clara. And it’s remarkable that with such few words Erskine has the ability to create vast worlds that open doors for indignant greed, as each left me wanting to know more about each of these flaw-ridden beings.
Erskine offers a feast when we expect a morsel. It’s astounding what she manages to say without saying it, using dialogue to offer up so much about her characters. Dance Move is a collection that I won’t forget in a hurry; however, something tells me that if I were to read another Erskine collection, I may well do, for the next one is most likely just as juicy.
Dance Move is out in paperback 9th February, published by Picador. Check out our interview with Wendy in issue 47.