Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
Horace McCoy

£8.99

During the Depression, Gloria and Robert enter a dance marathon in return for three square meals a day and a chance at winning the big-money prize. Under the intense scrutiny of the media, corporate sponsors and obsessive fans, the competing couples are put through a series of gruelling and humiliating feats of endurance, until they begin to fight among themselves and betray each other. As days and weeks go by, the tension reaches boiling point, and this pitch-black tale of desire and desperation heads towards a violent conclusion.

The Great Depression led people to take desperate measures to survive. The marathon dance craze, which flourished at that time, seemed a simple way for people to earn extra money, dancing the hours away for cash, for weeks at a time. But the underside of that craze was a competition and violence unknown to most ballrooms. A lurid tale of dancing and desperation, Horace McCoy’s classic American novel captures the dark side of the 1930s.

Paperback, 128pp
Serpent’s Tail, 2010 (1935)
ISBN 9781846687396