One of the first things Stevo did when he got to Vilnius was find the statue of Frank Zappa. It was crazy and yet liberating that something so humourous should be present in the capital of a country that had known such suffering.
Private Dance is a vibrant, modern tale set in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, about the pursuit of illusory beauty. The tired wealth of the West meets the newly emerging Eastern Europe with its history of suffering and resistance.
Stevo is in Vilnius for a week, looking for property investment as well as some 'downtime' to pursue the perfect female form. He confronts his hopes and prejudices as he tries to legitimise a troubled relationship with the dancer Modesta, all but disowned by her father following her uncle's death and gaining independence on the fringes of the sex industry. But who is ultimately the more morally bankrupt?
The writing in this debut novel by Jonathan Barnes with its predominant themes of sexual desire and redemption remains unambiguous and intoxicating.