From the documented facts of a real life, the acclaimed Irish writer Colum McCann has created an extraordinary work of fiction. This history of a life gets under the skip of its hero, into his head, under the skin of the people around him, into the heart of the era he came to represent, into the truth of what it means to dance. It is ambitious. It's also incredibly controlled, passionate and extravagant - perfectly matched in style to the personality of its central character, the dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Nureyev was famous, not just for his performances on stage but for his antics as an international mongrel, a social force, a symbol, an enigma. He created a wake in which the 20th century seemed to flow - poverty to excess, communism to capitalism, exile to fame.