The Dust That Danced, a novel by A. Cavuto: An Old Campus Myth and Uncovering the Fear of Life

Is a Hitchcock movie fictionalizing the real world or is the real world a mirror for his mind?

In her debut novel The Dust That Danced (New Degree Press, 2021), Author A. Cavuto offers a deft, fun, and twisting look at a real world that is on the edge of fiction and reality that keeps the reader breathless. Alice transfers to the university, and with her comes a story of death. Stella and her friends in academia are unprepared for what is about to unfold. They’re merely focused on excelling academically and enjoying the privilege that comes with leaving freshman year behind. Soon they find an old campus myth involving the death of a female student resurfaces; a mythology course, a dead body, and Stella is no longer able to convince herself that she is safe behind the camera. The story takes the reader through an adventure where nothing seems as it should be—a world where anything could happen at any time.

The book is both modern but classic in its exploration of themes we’ve seen before twisted before us. And this blending comes naturally to Cavuto, a University of Notre Dame graduate who studied Film, Television, and Theater while minoring in Science, Technology, and Values.

“I write to move people,” said Cavuto. “And given my recent connections to the college setting, I deeply understand the complexities and stigmatizations surrounding things like mental health. I wanted to provide a more transparent look into the collegiate female experience and the complexities that accompany it.”

Raised in a family of doctors, engineers, and business moguls, the decision for Cavuto to pursue her passion for the arts came easily. And her gift as a writer is on full display having honed her passion in the form of feature-length screenplays, documentaries, and time-consuming daydreams. The book will remind you of settings of the ‘hallowed halls’ of academia seen in movies, books, and television, and that’s by design.

“I do maintain a certain affinity for the dark academia sub-genre,” shared Cavuto. “I’m fascinated by the complex characters and themes it often yields, as well as its boasting of stunning classics such as Dead Poets Society, The Secret History, and more. I have always had a special place in my heart for mysteries, psychological thrillers, and any and all stories that require the reader to piece together clues — to solve a puzzle constructed by the author.

If you’re looking for a book that puts a rich and realistic book that weaves a subtle feminine perspective on common trends you’ll love the book. It’s dense, rich, and challenges the reader’s senses. Perfect for the avid reader or anyone looking to reconnect with the real complexities of their college experience.

Check out some of the Book Reviews below:

“There is more beautiful language packed into this slim first novel than in a shelf full of classics. This is a captivating book that ends the way all great literature does: with sadness for the reader that it’s over.”

— Michelle M. Murphy, Freelance Writer; credits include The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, Washington Journalism Review, and more.

“Mythology meets cinema in this labyrinth of a story, where each chapter gradually unravels the mystery within and is just as electrifying as the next.”

–Grace Wang, The Literary Hours

“Cavuto’s The Dust That Danced is absolutely addictive! You’ll dive into the 90s female psyche and try to navigate a confusing world of higher education and morality. The thriller will have you hooked as soon as you open the first page!”

–Nina Raman, Author of Everything You Wanted

“Cavuto has created a labyrinth of well-developed characters, breathtaking detail, and solid plot structure. The collegiate atmosphere adds a level of complexity that allows for a compelling connection of the dots!”

–Dessi Gomez, The Observer

About the Author

A. Cavuto attended the University of Notre Dame, where she majored in Film, Television and Theater with a minor in Science, Technology and Values. Raised in a family of doctors, engineers, and business moguls, the decision to pursue her passion for the arts came easily. Said passion has manifested in the form of feature-length screenplays, documentaries, and time-consuming daydreams.

In her spare time, Cavuto enjoys forcing her family to watch “”boring”” films, shooting analog, and performing spot-on impressions of her close friends and favorite fictional characters (claim verified by her close friends, but unfortunately not her favorite fictional characters).

In each of her creative endeavors, Cavuto’s goal has remained constant: she wants to move people.