The Book Cellar
Join the Book Cellar for an evening celebrating two new books centering on the world of dance inspired by the lives of their authors, Sari Wilson and Maggie Kast.
(Sari Wilson) (Maggie Kast)
About Sari Wilson:
Sari Wilson has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, a Fine Arts Work Center Fellow in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and has received a residency from The Corporation of Yaddo. Her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in literary journals such as Agni, Oxford American, and Slice.
Sari grew up in a Victorian brownstone in Brooklyn Heights, has lived in San Francisco, Chicago, and Prague, and now again lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the cartoonist Josh Neufeld, and their daughter.
Her forthcoming debut novel Girl Through Glass is, in many ways, a deeply personal book; it is based on her early experiences in the classical dance world. As a child, she studied ballet at Neubert Ballet Theater, a once-storied Carnegie Hall studio. Later, she studied at Harkness Ballet and as a scholarship student at Eliot Feld’s New Ballet School. She went on to study and perform modern dance with Stephan Koplowitz and at Oberlin College, where she majored in history and minored in dance.
About Girl Through Glass:
In the roiling summer of 1977, eleven-year-old Mira is an aspiring ballerina in the romantic, highly competitive world of New York City ballet. Enduring the mess of her parent’s divorce, she finds escape in dance—the rigorous hours of practice, the exquisite beauty, the precision of movement, the obsessive perfectionism. Ballet offers her control, power, and the promise of glory. It also introduces her to forty-seven-year-old Maurice DuPont, a reclusive, charismatic balletomane who becomes her mentor.
Over the course of three years, Mira is accepted into the prestigious School of American Ballet run by the legendary George Balanchine, and eventually becomes one of “Mr. B’s girls”—a dancer of rare talent chosen for greatness. As she ascends higher in the ballet world, her relationship with Maurice intensifies, touching dark places within herself and sparking unexpected desires that will upend both their lives.
In the present day, Kate, a professor of dance at a Midwestern college, embarks on a risky affair with a student that threatens to obliterate her career and capsizes the new life she has painstakingly created for her reinvented self. When she receives a letter from a man she’s long thought dead, Kate is hurled back into the dramas of a past she thought she had left behind.
Told in interweaving narratives that move between past and present, Girl Through Glass illuminates the costs of ambition, secrets, and the desire for beauty, and reveals how the sacrifices we make for an ideal can destroy—or save—us.
About Maggie Kast:
Maggie Kast is the author of The Crack between the Worlds: a dancer’s memoir of loss, faith and family, published by Wipf and Stock. She received an M.F.A. in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has published fiction in The Sun, Nimrod, Rosebud, Paper Street and other publications. A chapter of her memoir, published in ACM/Another Chicago Magazine, won a Literary Award from the Illinois Arts Council and a Pushcart nomination. A story published in Rosebud and judged by Ursula Leguin won an Honorable Mention in their fantasy fiction contest. Her essays have appeared in America, Image, Writer’s Chronicle and elsewhere. A Free, Unsullied Land is her first novel.
About A Free, Unsullied Land:
Nineteen-year-old Henriette Greenberg takes her first steps away from an abusive home on the dance floor of a Chicago jazz dive in prohibition-era Chicago and is enraptured by this new music. Struggling to escape a mother who doesn’t like girls and a father who likes young women all too well, she submerges herself in bad sex and political action. She meets and falls in love with Dilly Brannigan, a graduate student in anthropology. Ignoring his warnings, she travels to Scottsboro, Alabama to protest the unfair conviction of nine young black men accused of rape. She adopts Dilly’s work as her own. A powerful funeral ritual gives her hope of re-writing her family story but tempts her to violate an Apache taboo, endangering her life, her love, and her longed-for escape from home.