The Shape of a Hundred Hips

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TheShapeofaHundredHips_lg Patricia Cumbie

Bink Books
226 pp. ● 5.5×8.5
$14.95 (pb) ● $9.99 (eb)
ISBN 978-1-945805-64-6 (pb)


Publication date: July 2018

About the Book

The Shape of a Hundred Hips offers an insider’s perspective into the world of belly dancing that is perceived as outwardly fascinating, but rarely understood. The book goes beyond the glitz factor of belly dance to challenge assumptions people may have about it as suggestive or exotic. Belly dance is how the author gained confidence and compassion for her lost sense of self.

The Shape of a Hundred Hips is a literary memoir that promotes the idea that people can gain insight and take greater control of their lives through intentional movement and artistic connection.

For Readers and Book Clubs: Reading Guide


“Frank and fascinating: these words apply to Patricia Cumbie’s new book, a memoir. Her bravery is second to none. Raped as a teenager, living with family who settled for little, Cumbie fought for independence, and an understanding of herself consistent with her dreams and abilities. In short, she is amazing, and so is The Shape of a Hundred Hips. Descriptions and explanations of belly dancing—which she studied—are informative and enlightening, revealing how she grew into a maturity from which we can all take guidance. You will want to read this book now and quickly because it is exciting, useful, and memorable!” — Kelly Cherry, author of Girl in a Library: On Women Writers and the Writing Life (nonfiction) and Quartet for J. Robert Oppenheimer (poems)

“With courage, empathy and clarity, Cumbie depicts her working class family and roots, the difficulties and triumph of her marriage, and her struggles to tell the truths of her life and to confront the trauma of rape.  That the art of belly dancing comes to be one of the ways in which she heals helps makes this a singular and intriguing work.  The result is a fascinating narrative whose emotional weight keeps gathering power and will move readers in unexpected and subtle ways.” — David Mura, author of Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei

“The reader will shimmy with Patricia, tip and roll their shoulders, and release in time with her as she shares her love and heartbreak on the page. Her words move on the page much like a belly dancer undulating on the dance floor.” — Elizabeth DiGrazia, author of House of Fire (memoir)