There Should be More Dancing is the third, standalone novel by Melbourne author, Rosalie Ham. Like her first novel The Dressmaker, it is a clever, funny, brutally honest portrayal of a small minded group of people.
Set in present day Brunswick, Melbourne, the main character is Margery, a elderly widow grimly living on her own in her marital home. Her adult children have their own issues (one living abroad to escape a crime he committed in Australia) with the other two insisting upon visiting each week. Margery had a difficult marriage to a philanderer (who died in the corner pub’s fire) and continues to live across the small street from her mortal enemy Pat. Margery’s main character failing is her own rigid sense of propriety, unable and unwilling to see the flaws in other people. She compares herself to the fun-loving Pat and wonders if she has missed out on Life and Happiness.
Her best friend is her neighbour who lives in the house backing onto Margery’s, a small woman of limited English but with a sad personal story which tops even Margery’s. Help unexpectedly arrives in the form of a cheerful, free-spirited young woman, who takes pains to help Margery continue living in her own home.
The novel is a cleverly written black comedy, and, as other reviews have said, focuses on the issues of ageing, vagaries of family and great mistakes of life. The ending is simply hysterically funny.
The author has described the narrow community of Brunswick to a tee – this reader’s grandparents lived in Brunswick and I found the atmospheric description appallingly honest.
SMSA Mystery and Crime Reading Group Member