Maggie Shipstead was born in 1983 and grew up in Orange County, California. Her short fiction has appeared in Tin House, VQR, Glimmer Train, The Best American Short Stories, and other publications. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of the Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University.
The synopsis of this book is what pulled me. The ballet scene knows a lot of Russian stars who had their education on the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg. In the early twenties various of them joined Diaghilev in Paris for the Ballet Russes already escaping the revolution in Russia. This story is from a bit later though when big stars from the Russian Ballet where escorted by KGB secret agents while performing outside of Russia.
Starting with Joan being part of a ballet company just finding out she is pregnant. Giving a believable view of the world of ballet, with the hard work from early in the morning till after the show in the evening. The hard work to secure a spot even if it is just a far corner of the stage, as long as you are on it. The differences in life style of people performing on stage compared to 9 to 5 jobs.
The book tells the story from different points of view. Joan, Arslan, Elaine, Jacob, Harry. The book is written with a lot of flashbacks and it is not always clear in what time period we are. Especially with Elaine who is still working in the ballet world it took me a while to realize what the time period was. This was slowing down my reading progress significantly.
I did enjoy the plot of the story though and the developments. Though you can read trough the lines and pick up more hints about the developments in the story it was developed well enough to keep you in doubt till the last day. I really enjoyed the way the situation was dealt with in the end.
Author: Maggie Shipstead
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