The Master’s Muse

Varley O’Connor. Scribner, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4516-5538-4
Choreographer George Balanchine’s fifth wife, ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq, never wrote about her relationship with her husband, but if she had we can only hope it would be as graceful and penetrating as what O’Connor portrays in her fourth novel (after The Cure). In 1956, four years into their marriage, George and “Tanny” arrive in Copenhagen to perform. But in this fateful year, when only the youngest dancers were being given Salk’s vaccine, the 27-year-old Tanny contracts polio. Though she is having problems with George, then 52, he stays by her side, and the two seem to grow together, perhaps because of George’s ability to “strengthen” her, combined with her own dedication to transforming. Even when Tanny, confined to her wheelchair, can no longer bring herself to attend the ballet, and their marriage suffers as George lusts after a new young dancer, they continue to respect one another. Although the theme of a mind caged in a broken body has been explored, Tanny’s inner turmoil as a dancer once desired for her daring is particular in its utter devastation. 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. Agent: Joy Harris, the Joy Harris Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/12/2012
Release date: 05/08/2012
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-1-4516-5775-3
Hardcover - 367 pages - 978-1-61173-503-1
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4516-5776-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4551-3508-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4551-3506-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4551-3509-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4551-3507-3
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