A review: Dancing With Bears

“Dancing with Bears is a book heavily dependent on wit and any reader ready for this kind of amusement will enjoy it. The book is, thankfully, not merely jocular, in quite the same way that Aubrey Darger, from whose point of view the quote above is taken, has more than wits about him. It is quickly made clear that Darger and his associate Surplus are reputed to be “notorious confidence-men and swindlers who have defrauded [their] way through the entirety of Europe” (p. 7). Surplus is an American, as we are apparently meant to recognize from his full name—Sir Blackthorpe Ravenscairn de Plus Precieux. Technically, he is also a dog, his canine genome tweaked into human form. Quite what this means is never exactly made clear—but this book has not been written as an introduction to Darger and Surplus. I was not familiar with the protagonists before reading this book, or with the many of their adventures chronicled by the author, but such information isn’t necessary to the enjoyment of this novel.
Dancing with Bears skitters lightly over the surface of the world without apology and almost without explanation, using the power and the pleasure of words to draw the reader.” Read more. The beautifully bound hardcover edition of Dancing With Bears by Michael Swanwick is available now.