Title: Astonish Me
Author: Maggie Shipstead
Genre: Fiction, Chick Lit
Why it’s in my pile:
I recently watched Misty Copeland’s documentary A Ballerina’s Tale and absolutely fell in love with the art of ballet. I’m interested to see a new perspective of the training and work put into the dance. I am aware that that is only a small part of the story as it will dive more into love, passion, family and relationships. The part of achieving one’s dreams is of particular interest to me as well since I have been contemplating what my next endeavor should be and having the courage to pursue it.
Who has read Astonish Me?
From the author of the widely acclaimed debut novel “Seating Arrangements,” winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize: a gorgeously written, fiercely compelling glimpse into the passionate, political world of professional ballet and its magnetic hold over two generations.
“Astonish Me” is the irresistible story of Joan, a ballerina whose life has been shaped by her relationship with the world-famous dancer Arslan Ruskov, whom she helps defect from the Soviet Union to the United States. While Arslan’s career takes off in New York, Joan’s slowly declines, ending when she becomes pregnant and decides to marry her longtime admirer, a PhD student named Jacob. As the years pass, Joan settles into her new life in California, teaching dance and watching her son, Harry, become a ballet prodigy himself. But when Harry’s success brings him into close contact with Arslan, explosive secrets are revealed that shatter the delicate balance Joan has struck between her past and present.
In graceful, inimitable prose, Shipstead draws us into an extraordinary world, and the lives of her vivid and tempestuous characters. Filled with intrigue, brilliant satire, and emotional nuance, “Astonish Me” is a superlative follow-up to Shipstead’s superb debut.