"What a rare pleasure to be introduced to Tanaquil Le Clercq through The Master’s Muse
. I was enchanted from the first page by Varley O’Connor’s graceful portrait of this remarkable woman. How privileged we readers are to have the life in all of its strength and intelligence and elegance. Le Clercq is rendered without fuss or ornament, in a manner wholly at one with the beauty she and Balanchine strove for in their art." --Paul Harding, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Tinkers
"A brilliant novel in memoir form, The Master's Muse
is pure magic. As I read and was thoroughly absorbed by the writing, the remarkable characters, and the story, I simply could not believe this was a work of fiction, not an authentic memoir, expertly written. The Master’s Muse
is a superb
performance by Varley O'Connor. From one writer to another, my hat's off." --Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife, Abundance, and Adam & Eve
"An utterly gorgeous rendering of the life of ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq, whose career was destroyed overnight by polio in 1956. O'Connor vividly recreates the personalities and intrigues of the dance world of the fifties and sixties, but her greatest triumph is in her fascinating portrait of the steely Le Clercq and the enigmatic Balanchine, who first made her his perfect ballerina, then married her, and ultimately betrayed her." --Adrienne Sharp, author of The True Memoirs of Little K, The Sleeping Beauty, and White Swan, Black Swan
"A fictional portrait of ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq’s struggle with polio—and George Balanchine. This is not a novel about victimization or the malevolence of genius, but rather about the painful accommodations all of us make for the things and people we love. Thoughtful, tender and quite gripping, even for readers unfamiliar with the historical events the author sensitively reimagines." --Kirkus Reviews"Loving Frank
was a novel about architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s most scandalous love affair. The Paris Wife
centered on the first Mrs. Ernest Hemingway. Into this group of well-researched novelizations of famous love lives comes Varley O’Connor’s The Master’s Muse
, about New York City Ballet artistic director George Balanchine."
--O. The Oprah Magazine
"Choreographer George Balanchine’s fifth wife, ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq, never wrote about her relationship with her husband, but if she had we can only hope it would be as graceful and penetrating as what O’Connor portrays in [The Master's Muse
]. This passionate novel not only gives a glimpse into the ballet world of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, its eccentric characters bring the story to life." --Publishers Weekly
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
VARLEY O'CONNOR is the author of three novels, The Cure, A Company of Three
, and Like China
. Her short prose has appeared in Faultline: Journal of Art and Literature, AWP Writer's Chronicle, Driftwood, Algonkian Magazine
, the Sun
, and in an anthology, Naming the World and Other Exercises for Creative Writers
. In fall 2007 she joined the faculty at Kent State University, where in addition to undergraduate creative writing, she teaches fiction and creative nonfiction writing in the Northeast Ohio Universities Consortium MFA program.