Featured Book from the Recreational Reading Collection

astonish me

The recreational reading (McNaughton) collection is located on the 2nd floor of the library under the staircase.

Maggie Shipstead, Astonish Me (Knopf 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3619.H586A88 2014

Set in the world of ballet, this gripping novel spans three decades, starting in the mid-seventies, when Joan, a young American dancer, helps a Baryshnikov-like star defect from the Soviet Union. A brief relationship ensues, after which she retreats with another man to a life of suburban motherhood. The novel’s frequent chronological shifts feel strained and jarring, but the narrative effectively dramatizes the tensions between family and career, perfectionism and compromise. A young dancer spends her life in front of a mirror, and “without it she is halved, uncertain of her existence.” Shipstead rises to the challenge of evoking the excitement of dance, and her descriptions are all the more powerful for emphasizing the hard work behind the grace. (Review from New Yorker July 21, 2014 Briefly Noted column.)

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