Project Description

The Dancer Upstairs, 1995 (Chosen by the American Libraries Association as the Best Novel of 1997)

This novel explores one of the most astonishing stories in the whole history of twentieth century terrorism. Colonel Rejas was the policeman charged with the task of capturing the Peruvian guerrilla leader Ezequiel, but having been dismissed he finds the burden of silence and secrecy too heavy. On meeting Dyer, a foreign correspondent, he is moved to relate the tortuous progress of the manhunt for the first time. The Dancer Upstairs is a story reminiscent of Graham Greene and John le Carré – tense, intricate and heartbreaking.

A completely overwhelming novel, and I suspect that it will become a classic… one of those perfect novels
Colin Wilson
Nicholas Shakespeare’s stunning new book proclaims him the undisputed master of the Latin American scene
Norman Lewis
Shakespeare is interested in grand themes: love, vocation, politics and the corrupting power of moral and ideological absolutes… The Dancer Upstairs will be enjoyed by any kind of reader… It is enviably good, a genuinely fine novel from a writer who possesses real heart and flair
Louis de Bernières, Sunday Times
Almost steams with the author’s understanding of South America and yet is somehow poetic and tender
Gitta Sereny, Observer Books of the Year
Will count among the best work being produced by the present generation of British writers
Independent on Sunday
As cracking a story as any yarn, as informed as any journalism, and delivered with firmness and urgency
The Times
Astoundingly good…This dramatic, moving story demands you put your life on hold until it is finished
The Guardian
In addition to being a satisfyingly rich tale or romance this is a highly intelligent examination of Peruvian – and South American – reality… Funny and devastating… I was riveted by this superb novel
New Statesman
A crackling good yarn – Graham Greene meets Gabriel García Marquez
Evening Standard
Riveting… An intriguing, well-crafted and powerful novel
Washington Post
A beautifully crafted tale of love, obsession, and terror
Baltimore Sun
A gripping literary thriller… An unusually powerful examination of what animates thesouls of those who choose—or are forced—to play upon the stage of history
Publishers Weekly
Shakespeare explores an explosive situation in Latin America, deftly mingling love and suspense in a powerful, persuasive narrative… Precisely, beautifully detailed, a tale both faithful to its time and utterly timeles
Kirkus Reviews
Nicholas Shakespeare, using only black marks on white paper, has set in 1990s South America a story quite as evilly enchanting as the one about The Third Man Graham Greene set in Vienna… Shakespeare’s unadorned prose is as clean and precise as the coroner’s scalpel. The Dancer Upstairs is an extraordinary story; no grown-up reader should neglect it
George V. Higgins