Astonish Me

Shipstead, Maggie

Book - 2014
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Astonish Me
"From the author of the widely acclaimed debut novel Seating Arrangements, winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize: a gorgeously written, fiercely compelling glimpse into the passionate, political world of professional ballet and its magnetic hold over two generations. Astonish Me is the irresistible story of Joan, a ballerina whose life has been shaped by her relationship with the world-famous dancer Arslan Ruskov, whom she helps defect from the Soviet Union to the U.S. While Arslan's career takes off in New York, Joan's slowly declines, ending when she becomes pregnant and decides to marry her longtime admirer, a PhD student named Jacob. As the years pass, Joan settles into her new life in California, teaching dance and watching her son, Harry, become a ballet prodigy himself. But when Harry's success brings him into close contact with Arslan, explosive secrets are revealed that shatter the delicate balance Joan has struck between her past and present. In graceful, inimitable prose, Shipstead draws us into the lives of her lovably tempestuous characters. Filled with intrigue, hilarious satire, and emotional nuance, Astonish Me is a brilliant investigation into the bonds that hold us, despite the distancing of time and geography"-- Provided by publisher.

Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307962904
Characteristics: 253 pages ; 25 cm


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Jan 28, 2015
  • mvkramer rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Gave up at page 64 - just....nothing was happening. Sorry. I've been conditioned to only read books with murders, explosions, spaceships, and/or wizards.

Sep 10, 2014

I really enjoyed "Seating Arrangements" and I can't wait to read this one!

Jul 03, 2014
  • madison382 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

After reading this book, I have a better understanding of ballet, and what goes on behind the scene. It was well written, and entertaining as well.

Jun 22, 2014

Wonderful character study with very interesting, fully formed characters. I don't care about ballet, but I respect someone's passions and obsessions. I couldn't care less about wine, but I loved the movie "Sideways," so don't pass on this if you don't know a pirouette from a pas de deux. A nice mix of serious drama with plenty of levity. Four stars.

Jun 17, 2014
  • sass35 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

i love ballet and i love reading about ballet.the beginning started off so interesting.two ballet dancers and the men in there lives than one haves a baby and then it gets a little boring but hang in there towards the end of the book it makes up for it. all and all a very interesting book.

Jun 03, 2014
  • anitafournier rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Yawn. This book was a total bore. Unless you are a ballerina.

May 13, 2014
  • MARIA E WHELAN rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I could not put this book down. It was beautifully written, with gorgeous writing and remarkable characters. It lives up to its name.

May 11, 2014

EW recommendation

Apr 20, 2014
  • stephaniedchase rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A stunning, compact, beautifully written book about secrets, family, and the struggle to shape our lives. Completely different than her more comic debut novel, SEATING ARRANGEMENTS. Features one of the most perfect final chapters I have read in a long while.


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