Karen McCann delivers a great how-to guide with her new novel “Dancing in the Fountain: How to Enjoy Living Abroad.” As a person who has never lived abroad or been out of the country I found it extremely interesting, thought-provoking, informative and even uplifting. While the novel is targeted to woman over 40 who enjoy traveling, it provides people of all ages the sage advice needed for a successful and well-planned experience while in a new environment. McCann’s tone throughout her novel makes her incredibly easy to relate to. She really put herself into the novel and shared both the best and worst of herself, making the book life-like and entertaining instead of just an instruction manual.
McCann points out that her book can really help the many who have to unexpectedly move or relocate due to being in the military.
“Some 5.26 million non-military US citizens are now living abroad, a 67% increase since 2008, according to the Association of American Residents Overseas. More than half a million of those are retirees, and aging baby boomers will ensure those numbers continue to rise.”
Right off the bat McCann’s novel draws you in with a simple yet lasting impression on what her book will provide you with knowledge of:
“You’ll learn about friends I made…and mistakes blundered into along the way. One of the great things about living abroad is that you have countless new ways to screw up, providing many valuable opportunities for honing your wits and your sense of the ridiculous.” (pg. 14)
In this tell-all living abroad tale, McCann does not fail to provide information about all aspects of living abroad and that includes some of the need to know gory facts. It is realistic and trustworthy. After reading this novel, any and all fears I had about leaving the country for any period of time seemed small to non-existent.
Dancing in the Fountain provides readers with a chance to check off their to-do list with someone who has been in their shoes before. Together with McCann you can find the advice you need to choose where you want to go, how to learn the language, pinpoint your place of residence, survive getting lost, adapt, find friends, and make sure to experience everything that is new, unfamiliar and unconventional because that is where the most rewarding experiences are.
Even when discussing everyday activities, McCann’s writing is so rich that it paints a picture in your mind that turns ordinary and familiar things into something new and appealing.
“It was one of those perfect, golden afternoons. We ordered platters of ham and roast pork and fried fish, and sipped beer and wine. A street musician serenaded us, and we sang ‘Besame Mucho’ and danced on the sidewalk to the Anniversary Waltz. As we settled back down in our chairs, we heard cheers and laugher in the street, and looked up to see a bachelor party coming our way.” (pg. 155)
This novel is not strictly intended for the inexperienced traveler but for those with a traveler’s heart — a heart that can appreciate the small things in life like a glass of chardonnay on the coast of an unfamiliar beach at sunset. Whatever the location, whichever the person, McCann surely provides a novel that is fitting for one and for all.