In the roiling heat of the summer of 1977, 11-year-old Mira enters the high-stakes world of New York City ballet, a fiercely competitive world of struggle, obsession, passion for beauty - and something sinister that will challenge her, protect her, and ultimately take her innocence.
After her parents' divorce and a childhood spent between her father's tony Upper East Side dwelling and her mother's disordered Brooklyn habitat, young Mira becomes fascinated with the perfectionism, power, and promise of glory that ballet offers. Over the course of four years, she hones her talent, becoming a dancer for Balanchine - one of "Mr. B's girls" - eventually attracting the attention of 47-year-old Maurice, a reclusive, charismatic balletomane who haunts the city's dance studios and takes the young girl under his wing. As Mira plunges deeper into the ballet world, her relationship with Maurice intensifies, isolating her and taking her to darker and darker places within herself.
In the present day, Kate, a professor of dance at a Midwestern college, embarks on a risky affair with a student that threatens to obliterate her career and upend the life she has painstakingly created for her reinvented self. When she receives a letter from a man she has long thought dead, Kate is hurled back to the dramas of a past she thought she had left behind.
This enthralling literary debut is told in interweaving narratives that move between past and present, illuminating the costs and privileges of ambition and excellence and whether the sacrifices we make for an ideal destroy us - or save us.
©2016 Sari Wilson (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
My main problem with listening to this book was the narrater's insistence on saying " pa-went" instead of "pointe." It set my teeth on edge every time I heard it. I have been around ballet all my life and never have I heard it pronounced this way.
It's pointe pronounced POINT. Not pwont. I am so distracted by that....it's silly, I know. But COME ON. In less OCD thoughts, so far, this book is just getting nowhere and not even fast. So many authors these days do that thing....you know....the thing where they jump back and forth from the past and the present. If it's done well, it's a good tool for suspense and an interesting way to present the history of a character. In this case, it's just choppy.
I'm not sure yet.
Aside from the pointe/pwont thing,I actually think Ms. Gilbert is a good performer. She does various voices for the different characters very well and seamlessly. She has a good grasp of French pronunciation,aside, of course, from "pwont." As an aside, there have been a few cases where she does say pointe and I almost celebrate when she does.
Darkness. I have not finished the book, so this sentiment may change, but the book's main character is insipid. I think we are supposed to think she is a woman of strength and determination, but truly, she is weak and lets things happen to her. She hasn't, thus far anyway, shown any strength or will power.
I am hoping this book takes a turn towards the end, where I am currently.
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Yes. The style of writing, I guess it is prose? It is almost poetic. Well written if you like that style. You can end up daydreaming in parts, and getting lost in descriptions. It wasn't in excess though, and I never lost the story.
I don't know. It's very different. It almost felt like a Si-Fy novel at the beginning, not in content, but in it's nature. That's how it felt to me. Kind of void of feeling. I don't know how to describe the writing kind of scientific and almost sterile. I have to admit, I needed a dictionary for some of the words. I had doubts I would continue until the end, when I first started it. It does jump around present to past and so on, and there is a lot of ballet jargon. It did grow on me once things started falling into place. It had my curiosity. That being said it is a good book. I realize the style of writing kind of fit once more was learned about main character and her life.
I don't think so. She is very good. It's always tough doing the opposite sex voice but she manages to hold her own.
That's hard. They all are. Of course the main character, and the older man she falls in love with.Sorry not good with names.....Also, the main character's her mother ( even thought she had a small part) she turned out to be layered and with more substance, than I thought at the start.
You can take this book a different way, but to me its about how we evolve to who we are due to our past. Oh, and also "Beauty", how we idolize it, and in this case, it is not necessarily a good thing.
A narator that didn't read the words so fast you felt like she was in a race to finish the book.
I don't know I have now struck out on the last two titels.. this one and "the girl on the train" So I am scared to lay out any more money for a book I do not like or will not finish.
Totally made it an unpleasant experience. . As I wrote above. It seemed as if she was in a race with someone or the time clock to get the words read as fast as she could.
Could not get far enough into it to have any reaction other than dislike for the narrator.
This book reads autobiographical- the author drags you back into the 70's NYC just as easily as she paints it today. She obviously did her research for every aspect of this book down to California and ballet shoes A must read!!
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