Twenty-eight year old dancer Mu-Fang has reached a turning point in her life. For years now, she has been walking the tightrope between pursuing her dreams and the more mundane pressures of everyday life. By day she works in a political PR firm, and by night as a dancer, without achieving much success in either. But she has just heard that the esteemed dancer and professor Ms Chuo is organising one last major production before her retirement. On the recommendation of Fang’s dance teacher, Mu-Fang is invited to take part.
Mu-Fang decides she must take this, her big chance, and quits her job. But when she arrives at Ms Chuo’s studio, she discovers her limits as a dancer. Even the deaf boy can feel the music better than her. Faced with her childhood hero’s bad temper and the talents of dancers younger than her, Fang must ask herself the question, what is she doing here? And more importantly, why does she dance?
Chu Shao-Lin’s second book, Swallow Dance, was a sensation when it first came out in 1999, selling over one hundred thousand copies, a remarkable figure for a literary novel. A meditation on self-respect and aesthetics, Swallow Dance is a touching yet powerful exploration of the determination needed to make art. Reissued in an anniversary edition, this is a story that has proven itself against the test of time to become one of Taiwan’s most memorable literary novels.