Sunday, November 7, 2010
Quest of the Sleeping Princess
Congratulations to my friend Mary Sheeran on the publication of her second novel, Quest of the Sleeping Princess. Mary’s storytelling gifts are once again on display, this time taking us into the world of the New York City Ballet, the lives of some of its dancers and a young writer whose life intersects with theirs.
As she did in her first novel, Who Have the Power, Mary once again gives us a strong woman character, Susan McFadden, a writer navigating the tumultuous waters of relationships and career in New York City. The sensibility is strongly New York, which I loved.
I also was fascinated by how Mary wove the ballets in as parallel stories. She’s a great lover of George Balanchine and shares her vast knowledge in a way that unfolds naturally with the narrative.
Look for Mary’s book, fresh on the market this month, and read her ballet reviews on my blog. Way to go, Mary!
For more information, see the book's website at www.questofthesleepingprincess.com. When you go there, you can investigate the lives of George Balanchine and the work of Joseph Campbell and Northrop Frye, as well as watch ballets and/or listen to music.
There are two banners that contain ballet clips, "Tonight's Performance" and "Resources." The first contains ballet clips, music clips, and photos from ballets featured in the novel. The second contains source material and websites of authors featured in the novel and clips from ballets mentioned, such as Swan Lake, Giselle, and, of course, Sleeping Beauty.
The site also features essay on Balanchine and The Sleeping Beauty from the novel and some information on lung cancer, as it does figure in the storyline. November is lung cancer awareness month.
Quest of the Sleeping Princess is a different kind of book from Who Have the Power (not so violent! fewer pages!), but it still celebrates life in the arts and the imagination.
Praise for Quest of the Sleeping Princess:
"Sheeran explores a woman's fascination with the ballet world with a most interesting voyeuristic subplot...The book is impressive in its research into the artistic process, George Balanchine, the image of women in folklore and dance, and the sleeping princess as a motif...and it succeeds." -- Kirkus Reviews
"..intensely spiritual and remarkably feminist..." -- Ariel's Time
"It was wonderful to share these meditations on the Balanchine repertory and Mary Sheeran’s passionate insistence that the ballets belong as much to the audience that reveres them as to those who produce and perform them."
—Lynn Garafola, author of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and Legacies of Twentieth-Century Dance