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Dancing with the Tiger

Category: Book
By (author): Wright, Lili
Subject:  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Literary
  FICTION / Noir
  FICTION / Thrillers / General
Publisher: Putnam
Published: July 2016
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 464
Size: 9.31in x 6.25in x 1.41in
Our Price:
$ 35.00
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*When 30-year-old Anna Ramsey learns that a meth-addicted looter has dug up what might be the funerary mask of Montezuma, she books the next flight to Oaxaca. Determined to redeem her father, a discredited art collector, and to one-up her unfaithful fiancé, a museum curator, Anna hurls herself headlong into Mexico's underground art world. But others are chasing the treasure as well: the shape-shifting drug lord no one can really describe; the enigmatic American expat, who keeps his art collection locked in a chapel; the former museum director who traffics stolen works, and his housekeeper-deeply religious, a gay woman in a culture of machismo, dependent on a patron she loathes; the painter Salvador on his motorcycle, complex, sensual-but with secrets of his own.
Anna soon realizes that everyone is masked-some literally, others metaphorically. Indeed, Dancing with the Tiger is a splendid reminder that throughout human history, cultures have revered masks: whether in the theater or in war, for religious purposes, or to conceal identity, masks are as universal as our desire to transform ourselves, to change. Anna, without an ounce of self-pity despite traumatic losses, stands out as a heroine for our times as, traveling alone, she finds the courage to show her true face.
Review Quote*"A whirling tale of art and its sometimes sordid acquisition… [In] short, punchy chapters… [Dancing with the Tiger] races through the antics of…[a] rapacious cadre of thieves, collectors, murderers, bounty hunters and art lovers… [Wright] explores the ethical implications of collecting and its scent of exploitation [and] takes us into the underground world of art laundering, where stolen objects are washed clean by corrupt dealers with fake provenance papers… [Lots of] valuable insights to unearth in this wild novel." - The Washington Post

"In her energetic debut novel, the sprawling literary thriller Dancing with the Tiger, Lili Wright straddles borders and genres… Take [a] high-stakes game of keepaway, add several pairs of lovers, and you have everything you could want in a summer caper. But Dancing with the Tiger has literary ambitions as well. It strives to comment on grief, love, citizenship, the human spirit, the impulse to wear a mask (whether literal, as here, or metaphorical) and a host of other elevated themes. Quite often, it hits the mark. Toggling among nearly a dozen points of view, Wright demonstrates her range as a storyteller… The result is a novel that vacillates in tone and genre. At times the narrative is as heavy as the air before a storm, wrestling with life's persistent questions; at other times it zips along, aiming [for] thrills and surprises… [A] real romp; chapters end like old-school cliffhangers. Peppered throughout, blocks of delightful prose enjoy a laugh at the novel's (and the genre's) expense [and] every page is shot through with golden threads of striking images…The chorus of the many voices of Oaxaca- expats, tourists and locals alike- creates a siren song that keeps you turning the pages. This novel has much in common with Anna's favorite drink, the margarita, said to be the brainchild of an American Mexiphile: It's salty-sweet, refreshing and more powerful than you think." - The New York Times Book Review

"A fast-moving [and] intricately wrought thriller. Clearly written with great care, the novel plumbs the depths of love and obsession in complex yet delicately woven themes… [a] journey of self-discovery [set] within a powerful story full of danger and pathos that will appeal to fans of Megan Abbott, Denise Mina, and Minette Walters." - Booklist, starred review

"Fantastic… a fresh, non-stop story that will appeal to fans of all types of suspense fiction." - Suspense Magazine

"A rollicking combination of art and archeology, forgeries, drug deals, and tourists, Montezuma, murder, and love. Dancing with the Tiger is smart, sexy, and extremely suspenseful. Block out some time--once you start, you won't be putting it down."--Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and Black Glass: Short Fictions

"A gripping and powerful story of artifact smuggling and drug dealing in Mexico, driven by Lili Wright's deep compassion for the people and place she writes about."--Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins and We Live in Water and Beautiful Ruins

"An entrancing, provocative, and utterly beguiling debut. Like its heroine, Lili Wright's Dancing with the Tiger is so vibrant and alive you can practically feel the pages humming beneath your fingers. Not to be missed."--Megan Abbott, Dare Me and The Fever

"From sentence to sentence, Wright provides a literary theme park of noir thrills and cross-cultural conflict. Her talents as a storyteller are only exceeded by her skill in portraying the desperate brilliance that a centuries-old MacGuffin brings out in her characters. A Raymond Chandler engine inside a Megan Abbott chassis with detailing by Graham Greene. Wright is the early millennium novelist that we deserve...for our sins." --Dan Barden, author of The Next Right Thing

"Dancing with the Tiger is built on beautiful sentences the way a spider web is built on silk. Pleasing also is Lili Wright's wisdom regarding the human condition, present on every page. Her elegant and vital sentences  also travel in service to what is surely one of the most intricate plots of the year; but first and foremost, the sentences: one will follow them almost anywhere."--Rick Bass, author of The Lives of Rocks and All The Land to Hold Us

"It is a sexy, headlong descent into art and addiction, as hallucinatory and revelatory as a shot of mescal. Lili Wright creates a rogue's gallery of saints and sinners obsessively pursuing Montezuma's death mask, even as death dances in their midst. Fierce and fast paced, this is an urgent novel of ideas." --Sheri Holman, author of The Dress Lodger and Witches on the Road Tonight

"Smart and vivid, Dancing with the Tiger turns all the gears - and with gusto - from sex to gun play to old lost treasures in Mexico. As the ancient stolen mask changes hands, this novel delivers." - Ron Carlson, the author of Return to Oakpine

"This book is one of those literary novels that transcends genre--several, in fact: it contains romance, mystery, suspense, and history. Yet at heart its greatest gift is the care with which it's written. A superb success."--Antonya Nelson, author of Funny Once and In the Land of Men
Biographical NoteLili Wright spent a decade as a  journalist before enrolling in Columbia University's MFA program in nonfiction. In 1999, degree in hand, she accepted a tenure track position at DePauw University. While she was still writing nonfiction, her work appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune, and the Baltimore Sun. Learning to Float, her memoir of a trip from Maine to Key West, was included on The Washington Post's best summer reads list. Dancing with the Tiger took her five years and thirty drafts.