Shall We Dance?


Our Story of the Week is a family story from the astute writer Helen Stancey.

Helen has been writing since she was a little girl growing up in Yorkshire. Over the years she has continued to nurture her passion for writing, earning an English degree from the University College London and publishing two novels Words (1983) and Common Ground (1986).

Last month Fairlight Books published Helen’s collection of short stories The Madonna of the Pool. Richly poetic and entirely engaging, the stories demonstrate an exquisite understanding of human adaptation, endurance and, most of all, optimism – exploring the triumphs, compromises and quiet disappointments of everyday life.

You can read more about Helen’s journey as a writer and The Madonna of the Pool in her interview here.

Shall We Dance? is one of one the twelve beautifully honest short stories collated in The Madonna of the Pool. This touching story explores the loss of a mother and the tears, love, and laughter left behind.

‘Truly an excellent collection of short stories’ Dove Grey Reader


‘Anna thought: there was a time when people would stop what they were doing, even if they were only walking, and watch, serious and upright, as a cortège went by. Perhaps in other places they still did it. A respect for the dead. Here a funeral car was just part of the traffic, just one of too many purposes choking a road, and a particularly inconvenient one at that. Going too slowly, taking up too much width, the attempts of the mourners in their following cars to keep in line being at variance with city drivers’ opportunistic overtaking. And the passers-by turning from the embarrassment of death, pre-empting the intrusion of such an uncompromising phenomenon, or peeking, surreptitious voyeurs, to see how the participants in the procession were reacting. Were there tears? Handkerchiefs pressed to mouths? Women collapsing on grim-faced men? Formal solemnity? Boredom?’ Read more…