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The Master’s Muse: A Novel | [Varley O’Connor]

The Master’s Muse: A Novel

“We set our sights on each other almost from the beginning.”

So begins The Master’s Muse, an exquisite, deeply affecting novel about the true love affair between two artistic legends: George Balanchine, the Russian émigré to America who is widely considered the Shakespeare of dance, and his wife and muse, Tanaquil Le Clercq.

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Publisher's Summary

“We set our sights on each other almost from the beginning.”

So begins The Master’s Muse, an exquisite, deeply affecting novel about the true love affair between two artistic legends: George Balanchine, the Russian émigré to America who is widely considered the Shakespeare of dance, and his wife and muse, Tanaquil Le Clercq.

Copenhagen, 1956: Tanaquil Le Clercq, known as Tanny, is a gorgeous, talented, and spirited young ballerina whose dreams are coming true. She is married to the love of her life, George Balanchine - the famous mercurial director of New York City Ballet. She dances the best roles in his newest creations, has been featured in fashion magazines and television dramas, socializes with the country’s most renowned artists and intellectuals, and has become a star around the world. But one fateful evening, only hours after performing, Tanny falls suddenly and gravely ill; she awakens from a feverous sleep to find that she can no longer move her legs.

Tanny is diagnosed with polio, and Balanchine quits the ballet to devote himself to caring for his wife. He crafts exercises to help her regain her strength, deepening their partnership and love for each other. But in the years that follow, after Tanny discovers she will never walk again, their marriage is put to the ultimate test as Tanny battles to redefine her dreams and George once again throws himself into his art.

The Master’s Muse is an evocative imagining of the deep and complicated love between a smart, beautiful woman and her charismatic, ambitious husband; it is the story of an extraordinary collaboration in art and in life.

©2012 Varley O’Connor (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Graceful and penetrating…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)

“I was enchanted from the first page by Varley O’Connor’s graceful portrait of this remarkable woman.” (Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning author)

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (26 )
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Performance
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  •  
    s PLANO, ILLINOIS, United States 07-03-12
    s PLANO, ILLINOIS, United States 07-03-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great story of love"
    What made the experience of listening to The Master’s Muse the most enjoyable?

    yes


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    the love for each other


    What does Coleen Marlo bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    new york scene


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    when she got sick


    Any additional comments?

    it is just a good love story

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    05-31-12
    05-31-12 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    3
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
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    "Brilliant"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely! Deeply poignant. A complicated love story between two amazing artists.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tanaquil Le Clercq


    Have you listened to any of Coleen Marlo’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Another brilliant narration by Coleen Marlo!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    So many interesting moments.


    Any additional comments?

    Coleen Marlo truly shines in her performance as Tanaquil.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Hemet, CA, United States 07-31-12
    Kathleen Hemet, CA, United States 07-31-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    18
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    "Not what I was hoping for..."

    George Balanchine was a fascinating man; I love ballet & was hoping for more in this re-telling of his life with Tanaquil Le Clercq, who contracted polio that ended her dancing career. It is not a biography, but a novel. I listened to about 1/3 of the book & finally quit since it was so tedious. I have a problem with books about real people with conversations that are imagined by the author-maybe that's one reason I didn't care for it. The characters didn't seem to come alive-the narrator tried to copy Mr. B's accent & did remarkably well. I was just disappointed with this book. I think I will seek out biographies in future, instead of the novelistic approach. The characters, all interesting people, just never 'caught fire'.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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