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Paperback White Swan, Black Swan: Stories Book

ISBN: 034543868X

ISBN13: 9780345438683

White Swan, Black Swan: Stories

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

The world's most famous choreographer becomes infatuated with a coltish young dancer who proves both siren and muse. A rising star plunges into an affair with a principal but finds that ecstasy on the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Dance of Character

I love the characters in the twelve stories that make up Adrienne Sharp's White Swan, Black Swan. The characters who have moved into Sharp's work from the real world of dance are beautifully realized, yet those who've sprung wholly from Sharp's imagination are the ones who do an enduring dance on my heart. One of my favorite stories, "Wili," is narrated by Katherine, who shows up later in the collection as the narrator of "The Brahmins." Intensely devoted to yet intensely ambivalent about her dancing career, Katherine attempts to deal with her conflicting emotions while circumnavigating her sister's grief over her dead husband. For me, Katherine's deliberations capture a dancer's necessary self-absorption and focus on the world of dance in which she lives. Yet in her sister's home, confronted by the emptiness her sister and niece are trying to fill, she wakes to the reality of others' emotions: "And I'm rich suddenly, with grief, for what she though her life would be. It's not her fault, it's not what she deserves, but it's what she has to take instead." Katherine's attempt to reach outside of the dancer's dreamy, solipsistic world is a noble moment that reverberates throughout the collection. The dancers in Sharp's stories try desperately to connect with worlds other than the world of dance. And though they often hobble, crawl,and flail when they are forced to communicate and negotiate relationships in the real world, their attempts to find some balance in their lives, their attempts to meld their art with their own personal realities are courageous and breathtaking. Sharp has captured in lovely, dynamic prose every artist's, every dancer's tightrope walk. A thoroughly rewarding read.

A book almost as beautiful as ballet itself!

I took ballet lessons a long time ago and was a total klutz at it. I still take them to keep in shape. But like almost anyone who has ever danced, I dreamed of making it big time. Despite being fiction, Sharp has captured some of the finest things in professional ballet and some of the hard truths. This is a book of beautifully written stories that revolve around dancers' lives. Only one thing to caution against, Sharp has used technical ballet terms that are probably unfamiliar to most, keeping the book very real, but hard to visualize if you are unfamiliar with dance.

Encore, encore, Adrienne Sharp!

This beguiling collection dramatically portrays the complicated relationships and emotional lives of dancers and choreographers, both fictional and fictionalized. Adrienne Sharp's spare,evocative narrative beautifully captures dancers' longings, envy, frailty, self-absorption, explosive rage, and unapologetic pride. Four stories feature well-known dancers and choreographers; some fictional characters appear in more than one story. The collection is integrated by the characters' struggles to define themselves in relation to dance, whether they give it up, return to it, or leave behind a dance legacy. This book is a treasure for any individual ever haunted by dance, or even merely curious about the lives of dancers off-stage. Given the sexual content of several stories, this book is best recommended for mature readers.

Less Cliched Than Most "Ballet Fiction"

These days,I usually avoid fiction that claims ballet as a subject matter. I was a professional ballet dancer myself, and most books on the subject that I read in the past (again, I am emphasizing FICTIONAL here)were as cliched as those posters of dancers with the quote "If you can dream it, you can become it..." This book, however, was great. I was impressed with the boldness of Sharp's voice and her handling of the subject matter. The truth is that the ballet world is magical and beautiful, yet also painful, unforgiving, and not without betrayal. White Swan, Black Swan tells the stories with grace and intelligence.

A Beautiful Book About Ballet

I love this book! I've taken only four months of ballet in my life --because I was a laughable clutz at it -- yet I was quickly drawn into these stories and the world of ballet the author creates. And I stayed in that world, turning the pages, because the characters gripped me. And though these are stories, they read like a novel: the same characters appear in various stories so that we can follow their lives to resolution, even though some of the resolutions are sad. I liked Sharp's use of famous people in some of the stories, because I had known little about them beyond their names; now they are real people to me with their own private stories and heartaches. I also love watching the characters, both famous and those created by the author, as they live their private lives off-stage. This book has everything I look for in fiction: heartrending characters who are also lovable, unusual settings and predicaments that keep me reading, beautiful words and images. The author has created a "world," and I loved being in it.
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