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Astonish Me

By Maggie Shipstead

From the author of the widely acclaimed debut novel Seating Arrangements, winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction: a gorgeously written, fiercely compelling glimpse into the demanding world of professional ballet and its magnetic hold over two generations.

Astonish Me is the irresistible story of Joan, a young American dancer who helps a Soviet ballet star, the great Arslan Rusakov, defect in 1975. A flash of fame and a passionate love affair follow, but Joan knows that, onstage and off, she is destined to remain in the background. She will never possess Arslan, and she will never be a prima ballerina. She will rise no higher than the corps, one dancer among many.
After her relationship with Arslan sours, Joan plots to make a new life for herself. She quits ballet, marries a good man, and settles in California with him and their son, Harry. But as the years pass, Joan comes to understand that ballet isn’t finished with her yet, for there is no mistaking that Harry is a prodigy. Through Harry, Joan is pulled back into a world she thought she’d left behind—back into dangerous secrets, and back, inevitably, to Arslan.

Combining a sweeping, operatic plot with subtly observed characters, Maggie Shipstead gives us a novel of stunning intensity and deft psychological nuance. Gripping, dramatic, and brilliantly conjured, Astonish Me confirms Shipstead’s range and ability and raises provocative questions about the nature of talent, the choices we must make in search of fulfillment, and how we square the yearning for comfort with the demands of art. 



This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.

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Availability

2 available at Main (Downtown)
  • F Shipstead, Fiction
  • F Shipstead, Fiction
1 available at Ballentine
  • F Shipstead, Fiction
1 available at Blythewood
  • F Shipstead, Fiction

Publish Date

2014

ISBN

9780307962904


Format: Book
Author: Shipstead, Maggie
Summary: "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 U.S. 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 the lives of her lovably tempestuous characters. Filled with intrigue, hilarious satire, and emotional nuance, Astonish Me is a brilliant investigation into the bonds that hold us, despite the distancing of time and geography"-- Provided by publisher.
Title: Astonish me / Maggie Shipstead.
Publisher Date: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
Subject: Ballerinas -- Fiction. Family secrets -- Fiction. FICTION / Family Life.
Isbn: 9780307962904 (hardback) 9780345804617 (trade paperback)
Current Holds: 0
System Items Available: 4
System Items Total: 9
Call Number: F Shipstead
Oclc:
Upc:
Bib Id: 508677

Format: Book
Author: Shipstead, Maggie.
Summary: "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 U.S. 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 the lives of her lovably tempestuous characters. Filled with intrigue, hilarious satire, and emotional nuance, Astonish Me is a brilliant investigation into the bonds that hold us, despite the distancing of time and geography"-- Provided by publisher.
Title: Astonish me / Maggie Shipstead.
Edition: First edition.
Publisher, Date: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
Description: 253 pages ; 25 cm
Subjects: Ballerinas -- Fiction.
Subjects: Family secrets -- Fiction.
Subjects: FICTION / Family Life.
Genre: Domestic fiction.
LCCN: 2013026781
ISBN: 9780307962904 (hardback)
ISBN: 9780345804617 (trade paperback)
Requests: 0
Available Copies: 4
Total Copies: 9
Call Number: F Shipstead