Astonish Me is the story of Joan, a young American dancer who helps a Soviet ballet star, the great Arslan Rusakov.
A flash of fame and a passionate love affair follow, but Joan knows that she will always remain in the background. She will never possess Arslan, and she will never be a prima ballerina. She will remain one dancer among the others.
The relationship ends and Joan wants to make a new life for herself. She quits ballet, marries a good man, and settles in California with him and their son, Harry. Though as the years pass ballet finds its way back into her life again.
Maggie Shipstead gives us a novel of stunning intensity and deft psychological nuance. Astonish Me is gripping, dramatic and brilliantly conjured with an operatic plot. The novel raises questions about the choices we must take in the search of fulfilment.