You Alone Are Dancing

Brenda Flanagan
This prize-winning novel looks beyond Caribbean beaches and into the heart of a people and their struggle


Rape, the devastation of hurricane Flora, a child's tragic death, and an indifferent and corrupt government are some of the numerous problems challenging the people of Rosehill. Set on the fictional island of Santabella and spanning three years, You Alone Are Dancing follows the life of young Beatrice Salandy, balancing her ambitions, obligations, and love for Sonny Allen. Determined to create his own opportunities, Sonny leaves Rosehill for the United States in a swirl of promises and expectations. Beatrice remains on Rosehill, sharing her neighbors' struggle, adding their pain to her own, but sharing as well their music and their laughter, their history and their allegiance to it.

Like Santabella, set in an indifferent blue sea, Rosehill is part of a larger neglected Caribbean society, and Beatrice must learn to negotiate its tides and ebbs, overcome its storm and ensure its lulls, as she peruses what has to be done. She succeeds—but at a price that changes her life forever, as it does that of Sonny and all of Rosehill.

Brenda Flanagan, a native of Trinidad, is Professor of English at Eastern Michigan University, where she teaches creative writing and African-American and Caribbean literature. Flanagan is a three-time Hopwood award winner, including one for this novel. She is also the author of a play, When the Jumbie Bird Calls, and a forthcoming short story collection, In Praise of Older Women and Other Crimes. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in Caliban, Calalloo, the Caribbean Review, and the Indiana Review, among others.

Praise / Awards

  • "In Brenda Flanagan's novel, You Alone Are Dancing, there's talk and talk, the life-long dance of talk—it's lyrical, raucous, sorrowful, vibrant, inventive. And there you are, on the island, in the midst and mix of it all. What the best musicians do with wood and brass and air, Brenda Flanagan does with words—she gives them voice and life."
    —Janet Kauffman, author of Places in the World a Woman Could Walk
  • "This lyrical first novel set on a fictional Caribbean island (doubtless similar to its author's native Trinidad) contains a skillful and attractive rendering of life in a bustling village and of its resourceful and colorful local dialect."
    Kirkus Review
  • "[An] elegantly defiant account of the ravages wrought by corporate imperialism on what might be any disenfranchised island people. . . . One of the greatest pleasures in this novel is its wonderful dialogue, which creates a constant thrumming music beneath the political events that provide its surface tensions."
    New York Times Book Review

Product Details

  • 5.5 x 8.5.
  • 208pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1996
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06627-8

Add to Cart
  • $21.95 U.S.