*** DEBUG END ***

What I’m reading: Margaret McAllister

26 September 2007

by Allison Ward


Learning to Dance by Michael Mayne is a book to keep coming back to. It’s beautifully structured in small chunks, each chapter corresponding to months of the year, and to the dance of life. Mayne looks at everyday human life and the rhythm of the countryside. He covers spirituality, science, the cosmos, pain and suffering, creativity, and the environment.

He shares his enthusiasm for literature and the theatre, quoting familiar and unfamiliar poets and writers. He gives us a sense that the seasons are important — I don’t think that we are as tuned in to this now as we were in the past. It’s important to recognise what the natural world is doing, and that we are part of it.

All the chapters are concerned with dance, like the continually moving patterns of the seasons. “Dancing in the Dark” looks at pain and suffering. Forgiveness is central to our faith, but Mayne doesn’t offer easy answers. He talks about his painful early life (his father, a parish priest, committed suicide when he was three), but without dwelling on it. In “The Dance of Love”, he looks at relationships, including friendship, the ending of relationships, and bereavement.

As a writer, he takes us by the hand. I never felt out of my depth, but there is much to digest and absorb.’

Michael Mayne, Learning to Dance, DLT, £10.95 (£9.85), 978-0232-52434-5.

Margaret McAllister’s High Crag Linn is published by Lion at £5.99; 978-07459-6062-3.

To order  Learning to Dance, email the details to Church Times Bookshop

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events

2 July 2022
Bringing Down the Mighty: Church, Theology and Structural Injustice
With Anthony Reddie, Azariah France-Williams, Mariama Ifode-Blease, Luke Larner, Will Moore, Stewart Rapley and Victoria Turner.

4-8 July 2022
HeartEdge Mission Summer School
From HeartEdge and St Augustine’s College of Theology.

More events

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four* articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)

*Until the end of June: we’re doubling the number of free articles to eight, to celebrate the publication of our Platinum Jubilee double issue.