Isadora: A Novel
It’s an ordinary afternoon for Isadora Duncan and her lover, Paris Singer, when they send Isadora’s two young children home with their nanny from a French cafe. This afternoon, however, will wrench Isadora’s life in a terrible new direction. A mechanical problem in Singer’s car sends it, driverless, into the Seine, where the children and nanny drown. Isadora begins at this moment of tragedy, and, as the novel unfolds, we follow not only Isadora but others in her coterie as they grieve in their own ways. Isadora’s grief takes grotesque forms, and her mental stability teeters along with her physical health. As she travels through Europe, seeking solace and refuge, she struggles to find a way forward–back to sanity, health, and the creative work that ultimately makes her a pivotal figure in the world of modern dance.
Told from several points of view in rich, decadent prose, Isadora is a portrait not just of a grief-stricken mother but also of a world on the verge of war. Seething political unrest is the backdrop of Isadora’s fraught wanderings, underscoring the sense that nothing in her world will ever be the same. Isadora is a moving exploration of the way sadness threads through a life, stitching it into new forms and figures as strange as they are resilient.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux