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The Flamenco Academy
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the widely praised The Yokota Officers Club, a superbly alive novel about two young American women caught up in the fevered excitement of the flamenco revival sweeping the Southwest.
The place is Albuquerque. Cyndi Rae Hrncir, called Rae, seventeen and shy, is twice spellbound, first by high school bad girl Didi (“Dirty Deeds”) Steinberg, already embarked on a search for stardom, then by a devastatingly handsome young flamenco guitarist, Tomás Montenegro. Soon the girls are in college, where they abandon themselves to the disciplines and demands of the universitys flamenco academy and to the hypnotic storytelling of their teacher, Doña Carlota, Tomáss great-aunt. While never losing the insistent beat of the dance, Doña Carlota mesmerizes her students with the complexly embroidered story of her childhood growing up among the cave-dwelling Gypsies of Andalusia. She initiates them into the traditions, the rhythms, and the steps of flamenco puro, with its central imperative: “Dame la verdad”—Give me the truth.
Locked in a volatile triangle and driven by obsession—Didis with stardom, Raes with Tomás, Tomáss with his mysterious heritage—these three emerge as the brightest stars on the New World flamenco scene, while secrets and desires, longings and betrayals pulse just beneath the glittering surface of their compelling performances.
A sense of passion and danger has always surrounded flamenco. In The Flamenco Academy, Sarah Bird delivers a novel with a sense of history and character that matches the drama of the dance it so brilliantly celebrates.
"When Cyndi Rae Hrncir, 17, moves with her family to Albuquerque, N.Mex., her Czech heritage makes her an outsider. When her father, and the father of 'bad girl' Didi Steinberg, both succumb to cancer, the two form an alliance that strengthens as their mothers descend into grief. Cyndi then meets the charismatic, guitar-playing Toms Montenegro, an up-and-coming star in the flamenco world, and her life changes. She studies flamenco with Toms's great aunt, the daunting Doa Carlota Anaya de Montenegro, who raised him. Didi joins them, and the grueling physical and emotional challenges underscore the differences between the two girls. Meanwhile, their demanding teacher reveals bits and pieces of her own past in politically roiled Spain, unlocking secrets of Toms's heritage. The emerging triangle between Cyndi, Didi and Toms does not hold a candle to the stunning revelations about Doa Carlota's life and extraordinary history (which would have made a much more compelling novel). But Bird (The Yokota Officers Club) delivers a story brimming with romance and visceral details of flamenco, its music and its history. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Sarah Bird is the author of five previous novels: The Yokota Officers Club, Virgin of the Rodeo, The Mommy Club, The Boyfriend School, and Alamo House. She is a columnist for the Texas Monthly and has written for The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, O Magazine, Glamour, and Mademoiselle, among other publications. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, George, and son, Gabriel.
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