Latest thrilling suspense novel from the author of He Said/She Said is set amid the demanding world of professional ballet. Ava Kirilova, principal dancer at the London Russian Ballet, is preparing to play the dual leading role in "Swan Lake". But Watch Her Fall soon moves beyond the claustrophobic confines of the ballet company into a London in the grip of a heatwave, weaving in the desperation and ambition of those at the mercy of the gig economy. Gripping, with a devilish twist, you don't have to be a balletomane like me to love this one.
Watch Her Fall opens with a quote from the American dancer Martha Graham: “A dancer dies twice – once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful.” ... Kelly paints a picture of a claustrophobic, rarefied, piercingly lonely world, one where those below Ava in the hierarchy watch with glee for her downfall. Certainly not just one for balletomanes (as I have now learned ballet enthusiasts are called), this is deliciously sinister and obsessive, an immersive journey into a world where ballet is everything, with one hell of a twist.
Ava Kirilova is the star of a London-based company run by her martinet father and due to dance the dual roles of the White and Black Swan in a world tour. It seems a younger ballerina, Juliet, wants to usurp her. Yet just as the reader is returning to their seat with an ice cream, Watch Her Fall leaps off unexpectedly but deftly into the lives of two Ukrainian immigrants, Max and Katya, struggling to survive in today’s London. How Kelly ties that into Ava’s story may be contrived but as entertainment it justifies the risk taken.
Kelly cleverly cons us that Watch Her Fall will be a pointless rerun of Black Swan:..
Kelly’s shapeshifting novel is by turns a social comedy, heist caper and whodunnit while remaining a dazzling psychological thriller.