$19.95 CAD

Dance, Gladys, Dance

Cassie Stocks 978-1-897126-76-9 | 344 Pages March, 2012 Accolades!, Audiobook, Ebook, Fiction, Humour, Nunatak First Fiction Series, Women's Literature

Also available as an ebook from

About this book

Twenty-seven-year-old Frieda Zweig is at an impasse. Behind her is a string of failed relationships and half-forgotten ambitions of being a painter; in front of her lies the dreary task of finding a real job and figuring out what “normal” people do with their lives. Then, a classified ad in the local paper introduces Frieda to Gladys, an elderly woman who long ago gave up on her dreams of being a dancer.

The catch? Gladys is a ghost.

In Dance, Gladys, Dance, Cassie Stocks tells the uplifting story of a woman whose uncanny connection with a kindred spirit causes her to see her life in a new way—as anything but ordinary.

book trailer

Gladys reviewed on Global Regina Morning News

interview with the Western Producer

interview with Don't Talk to Me About Love

interview with CBC Books

Magic 8 Q&A at CBC Books


Chapter One
She Needs The Room To Bake

I had no point of navigation but I was hell-bent on finding my way to Ordinary. I didn’t know what I hoped to find on that voyage or, God forbid, at the end of it, but I knew there was nothing but bilge rats and bullshit on the course I’d been following.

I still awoke at night as if in midthought. That copy of Emerson’s Essays … did Norman keep it? I’d be compelled to run downstairs to the storage room and root through the boxes I brought back from Kentucky with me. First, though, I had to rouse Ginny to find the key. Ginny tolerated these wakings only twice, and then, griping about delusional roommates, she had a copy of the key made and hung it by the condo’s front door.

It’s a physical deficiency you feel in the middle of the night after a breakup. Oh shit, you lie there thinking. It’s not the books or the brassieres—I’ve left my thighs in his spare closet.

Along with my ex, Norman, and possibly some missing-inaction body parts, I’d abandoned my creative spirit in Kentucky too, left it disintegrating underneath a tree beside the Barren River (symbolically enough), buried alongside the last paintings I swore I would ever do.

Ginny had left the newspaper on the kitchen table folded open to the employment section, alongside a conspicuously placed red pen. I sat down at the table and wriggled in the chair. Ginny’s condo is the Shrine to Design: titanium white walls, ebony floors, leather furniture, and none of the clocks had numbers. I could never tell what time it was, not that I had anything to be late for. The two kitchen chairs were Bertoia Wire Chairs, sans cushions. The wire frame was incredibly uncomfortable and my butt would be dented like a reverse waffle when I stood up. If the other items in the room and I were featured in a certain Sesame Street game, I’d be one of the things that’s not like the others.

I unfolded the paper and turned past the help-wanted ads to the furniture-for-sale column. I’d be getting my own place again, someday. It didn’t cost anything to look and I wanted to feast my eyes on the cost of a nice flat-bottomed kitchen chair.

Underneath the amazing queen mattress & box, cost over $1100, sell $495, there it was:

B E A U T I F U L old phonograph for sale. 78 record player.
Excellent condition. Gladys doesn’t dance anymore.
She needs the room to bake. Bring offer. Ph. 254-9885.


"Dance, Gladys, Dance is a winner. You don't want to stop reading."

~ Sharon Butala

"Provocative, compelling, and filled with unexpected humour, Dance, Gladys, Dance is a delightful read."

~ Donna Milner

"Dance, Gladys, Dance is a lovely demonstration of the importance of creating, whether it’s art, friends or food. Connection—reaching out to others—is the ultimate value of this charming and thoughtful novel."

~ The Globe and Mail

"What a wonderful gem of a novel! Dance, Gladys, Dance is a fun novel with a serious side too and from the first page I was hooked and couldn’t put it down."

~ Peeking Between the Pages

"Fun from page one to the end!"

~ Catholic Canada

"I can’t think of the last time a book made me laugh (many times!) and cry (again, many times!)."

~ Book Drunkard

"At its heart this story is about creating a life: whether that's through art, craft, business or relationships. I loved how Stocks takes fine art, domestic craft and feminism and stirs them all into a story that, despite its darker moments, sadnesses and soul-searching, ends up being uplifting and life-affirming. This book satisfies, and entertains, and provokes thought. A perfect book to sit down and discuss with other readers, with all its twists and turns and Ideas. A fabulous debut!"

~ The Indextrious Reader

"[a]n entertaining blend of humour and pathos, friends and families, the living and the dead."

~ Anjana Balakrishnan, Herizons Magazine

 "Dance, Gladys, Dance makes some pointed feminist and social commentary amid the sarcasm and depravity." full review

~ Devin Pacholik, Pages and Patches

"[t]he characters are zany and interesting, and, while Stocks has a witty tone, she deals with very serious, sometimes downright devastating, themes." full review

~ Caroline Barlott, Avenue Edmonton

"I loved hanging out with the characters in this book." full review

~ Joy Fisher, The Coastal Spectator