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Dancing with the Octopus

Category: Biography & Memoir
ISBN:   9781788165167
Publisher:  Profile Books Ltd
On sale: September 2020
List price:
Format: Hardcover
eBook ISBN

Dancing with the Octopus: The Telling of a True Crime


Debora Harding


A fierce, strikingly redemptive exploration of the impact of traumatic violence on victim, perpetrator and society

One Omaha winter day in 1978, when Debora Harding was just fourteen, she was abducted at knife-point, thrown into a van, assaulted, held for ransom, and left to die.

But what if this wasn't the most traumatic, defining event in her childhood?

Undertaking a radical project, Debora Harding dexterously shifts between the past and present to unravel her story. From the immediate aftermath to the possibility of restorative justice twenty years later, Dancing with the Octopus lays bare the social and political forces that act upon us after the experience of serious crime. A vivid, sly and intimate portrait of one family's disintegration, this is a darkly humorous and ground-breaking narrative of reckoning and recovery.


Debora Harding wrote the final version of this story after watching Christine Blasey Ford's testimony against Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, in 2018. A writer whose work has appeared in the Guardian, Daily Mail and elsewhere, she has trained as a mediator in restorative justice and worked in US politics, amongst other things. The mother of two children, she spent her childhood in Nebraska and Iowa and now lives in England with her British husband.

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