The Turnout By Megan Abbott
‘The Turnout’ is the latest book by Megan Abbott.
With their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, Dara and Marie Durant have been dancers since they can remember. Growing up, they were trained by their glamorous mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance. After their parents’ death in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago, the sisters began running the school together, along with Charlie, Dara’s husband and once their mother’s prized student. The three have perfected a dance that keeps the studio thriving. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school’s annual performance of The Nutcracker-a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration-an interloper arrives and threatens their delicate balance.
Itâ€™s been a while since Iâ€™ve read a book by Megan Abbott, the last book was ‘The Fever’ and I remember that book was particularly addictive and this latest offering is no different.
The story is seen through the perspective of Dara Durant, the eldest sister to Marie and wife to Charlie. The 3 of them run The Durant School of Ballet and are busy preparing for the production of ‘The Nutcracker’. But when a fire at the studio brings Derek into their lives, he upsets the balances of trio and Dara questions his motives.
Right from the offset, this book is a bleak and compelling story that immediately grabbed my attention and pulled me into the dark and complicated world of the Durant sisters.
Megan has a skill of creating an unsettling world and the further that the story progresses, it gets more unsettling and the hairs on your arms stands on edge and there’s a chill in the room.
Dara is a complex character, sheâ€™s the eldest and more domineering of the two sisters and Marie has always been the compliant, meek one until Derek, with his robust and large personality ignites a sexual desire and curiosity in Marie. Dara is stressed with preparing for the ballet production, the bullying between the young performers, Charlie’s ongoing aches and pains and Marie’s new obsession with Derek. She comes across as a cold character and whereas Marie has a kinder more approachable attitude and her interactions with the tiny performers make for sweet reading. She’s dependent on Dara, but is wanting to do her own thing and thinks that Derek is her salvation.
The interactions between Dara and Derek make for fascinating reading, as more issues arise with the refurbishment of the studio and he tries to reassure with his charming personality, Dara fails to warm to him and is suspicious of him right from the start.
The story also features in the past and present tense, as Dara reflects on her childhood, the tension between her parents as well as the flawed relationship that has impacted on her life more than she has realised.
A dark story that oozed tension and made for twisted reading. ‘The Turnout’ is another cleverly crafted story from Megan, beautifully written and fantastically descriptive this chilling book with its dramatic ending takes the reader to unspeakable places with its deeply rooted family secrets and lies.
You can buy ‘The Turnout’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.