16 3 / 2014

Here’s a very kind review of Astonish Me from O Mag. The book comes out on April 8!



April 2014 Book Review: ‘Astonish Me’

Swan Song


JANUARY 1975, TORONTO. Joan Joyce, a lackluster member of the corps de ballet, sits in the getawaycar, one hand poised to turn the key in the ignition, the other ready to switch on the headlights. After a fling in Paris with the world’s most famous ballet dancer, Arslan Rusakov, she has been chosen—by Arslan himself—to help him defect from the Soviet Union. He exits through the stage door, bolts for the car in full costume, and climbs into the back- seat, and Joan smuggles him across the border, to New York City. Arslan epitomizes the physicality and star power Joan will never have, which makes her desire for him all the more potent, and poignant. Their ensuing relationship changes her “sensation of being alive,” but doesn’t alter her career trajectory.

Maggie Shipstead’s thrilling second book, Astonish Me (Knopf), is an homage to, and exposé of, the exhilarating, punishing world of ballet; it’s also a searing rumination on insecurity, secrecy, and friendship. The story line takes its inspiration from a real-life pas de deux: Mikhail Baryshnikov’s passionate affair with American socialite Christina Berlin.

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08 1 / 2014

I heart Chang-rae Lee and his writing and the prospect of reading his new novel (!) and his decision to choose my story “La Moretta” for this week’s Recommended Reading. I recommend you read it, if you are so inclined.

21 7 / 2013

Just when you think you’re done being reviewed, The Guardian sneaks up on you.

05 7 / 2013

Thanks to Waterstones for choosing Seating Arrangements for their book club and to the booksellers on this podcast for their amazingly thoughtful readings and conversation.

28 6 / 2013

And what is an essay without a playlist?

(Source: Spotify)

28 6 / 2013

Solo circumnavigation is perfectly natural. Let’s explore it together.

21 6 / 2013

Nantucket’s really going for it with the whole pleasant/beautiful thing today. (at Nantucket Boat Basin)

Nantucket’s really going for it with the whole pleasant/beautiful thing today. (at Nantucket Boat Basin)

14 6 / 2013

Norwegian jacket for Seating Arrangements

Norwegian jacket for Seating Arrangements

12 6 / 2013

I will not be listening to this because I don’t like the sound of my own voice, but if you’re willing to risk it, be my guest! Thanks to the very kind Tanya Brennand-Roper for the interview.

04 6 / 2013

I talked with the lovely Marisa Atkinson for BookRiot.