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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2014: “Etonnez-moi (astonish me)!”--was the great ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev’s command to his collaborators and dancers, and it’s just what this insistent, subtle novel did to me. A confession: I may have been the only reviewer who was not blown away by Maggie Shipstead's best-selling debut, Seating Arrangements. So this sophisticated, intelligent novel was an astonishing discovery. On one level, it tells a straightforward story, of a young woman in the 1970s who fought her way into the professional ballet world, helped her Russian dancer/sort-of boyfriend defect, and then left the ballet, married a “civilian” and raised a son who turned out to be ballet-obsessed. But it’s also an insistent and deft look at passion and art, a book about growing up and facing your limits and getting on with life. That it’s set in the dance world--an irresistible venue even for those of us who performed neither toe nor tap--is just the bonus to a novel that already hit the jackpot. --Sara Nelson
*Starred Review* Languishing in the corps de ballet of a premier New York company while her lover, internationally renowned dancer Arslan Ruskov, is captivating critics and audiences, Joan becomes pregnant and reunites with her high-school boyfriend, Jacob, now a doctoral student in Chicago. Though they build a life together for themselves and their son, Harry, Joan can never escape the role she played in helping Arslan defect from the Soviet Union. As she makes tentative peace with her new status far away from the footlights as a suburban mom and strip-mall ballet instructor, Joan pins her hopes on salvaging her career relevancy as she guides her neighbor’s daughter, Chloe, to professional status. However, it is Joan’s own son who astounds everyone by becoming the sought-after new prodigy. When he and Chloe cross paths with Arslan, the finely tuned life that Joan and Jacob constructed comes crashing down as long-held secrets are exposed in a particularly brutal way. Readers who reveled in Shipstead’s sardonic comedy-of-manners debut (Seating Arrangements, 2012) will rejoice in the emotionally nuanced tale of barre-crossed lovers and the magnetic, mysterious world of professional dance. A supple, daring, and vivid portrait of desire and betrayal. --Carol HaggasSee all Editorial Reviews
The more I read this the book the more I enjoyed it. By the end I was really looking forward reading more.Published 4 days ago by Sara Leipzig
This is the stuff of literature.
I was delighted to hear Ms. Shipstead on the Other Ppl podcast) Thankfully, major plots points were not revealed, so no spoilers. Read more
A book for balletomanes. There were many almost recognizable characters. Probably Balanchine, Baryshnikov and Makarova. Read morePublished 16 days ago by parmelee tolkan
I really loved this book! It was an easy read that I couldn't put down from the start. I would highly recommend!Published 18 days ago by hbutton2
I danced ballet for three years, from the tender age of three to the age of six. I hated it. I ran away from it as soon as I could. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Karla Pacheco
I knew nothing about the lives of ballet dancers and thought the descriptions were wonderfully done assuming they were realistic. Read morePublished 26 days ago by ruth LeGrand
I didn't enjoy this book at all.i skimmed through it in order to finish but I never really felt like it was worth spending my time reading.Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book was beautifully written. It is not something I would have chosen for myself but it was this months book club book. I couldn't put it down! Read morePublished 28 days ago by Kate