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The Chosen Maiden
Cover of The Chosen Maiden
The Chosen Maiden
The lush, sweeping story of a remarkable dancer who charts her own course through the tumultuous years of early twentieth-century Europe. Beautifully blending fiction with fact, The Chosen Maiden plunges readers into an artistic world upended by modernity, immersing them in the experiences of the era's giants, from Anna Pavlova and Serge Diaghilev to Coco Chanel and Pablo Picasso.
From their earliest days, the Nijinsky siblings appear destined for the stage. Bronia is a gifted young ballerina, but she is quickly eclipsed by her brother Vaslav. Deemed a prodigy, Vaslav Nijinsky will grow into the greatest, and most provocative, dancer of his time. To prove herself her brother's equal in the rigid world of ballet, Bronia will need to be more than extraordinary, defying society's expectations of what a female dancer can and should be.
The real-life muse behind one of the most spectacular roles in dance, The Rite of Spring's Chosen Maiden, Bronia rises to the heights of modern ballet through grit, resilience and fervor. But when the First World War erupts and rebellion sparks in Russia, Bronia—caught between old and new, traditional and ground-breaking, safe and passionate—must begin her own search for what it means to be modern.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The lush, sweeping story of a remarkable dancer who charts her own course through the tumultuous years of early twentieth-century Europe. Beautifully blending fiction with fact, The Chosen Maiden plunges readers into an artistic world upended by modernity, immersing them in the experiences of the era's giants, from Anna Pavlova and Serge Diaghilev to Coco Chanel and Pablo Picasso.
From their earliest days, the Nijinsky siblings appear destined for the stage. Bronia is a gifted young ballerina, but she is quickly eclipsed by her brother Vaslav. Deemed a prodigy, Vaslav Nijinsky will grow into the greatest, and most provocative, dancer of his time. To prove herself her brother's equal in the rigid world of ballet, Bronia will need to be more than extraordinary, defying society's expectations of what a female dancer can and should be.
The real-life muse behind one of the most spectacular roles in dance, The Rite of Spring's Chosen Maiden, Bronia rises to the heights of modern ballet through grit, resilience and fervor. But when the First World War erupts and rebellion sparks in Russia, Bronia—caught between old and new, traditional and ground-breaking, safe and passionate—must begin her own search for what it means to be modern.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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About the Author-
  • EVA STACHNIAK was born in Wrocław, Poland. She came to Canada in 1981 and has worked for Radio Canada International and Sheridan College, where she taught English and Humanities. She is the bestselling author of The Winter Palace, Empress of the Night, Necessary Lies and Garden of Venus. She lives in Toronto. The author lives in Toronto, ON.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 15, 2017
    Stachniak (Empress of the Night) exquisitely blends fiction with fact in this novel about the remarkable ballet dancers Vaslav and Bronia Nijinsky. Her research began with Bronia’s early memoir, which recounts her life as a young dancer up until 1914, and then delved into diaries, choreographic notes, correspondence, photographs, and scrapbooks. This rich and imaginative tale of Bronia and Vaslav’s eventful lives intersects with a tumultuous period in the 20th century: a time of world wars, the Russian Revolution, and a revolution in the world of dance and art. Giants of the era, including Serge Diaghilev, Pablo Picasso, and Anna Pavlova, all appear. While Vaslav easily rises to fame with his unique and audacious style of dancing, his sister struggles to gain recognition as a dancer and choreographer. The book takes readers into the controversial 1913 premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, in which Vaslav casts Bronia as the Chosen Maiden who dances herself to death, and then follows them both into adversity. Stachniak brilliantly brings the story of Bronia, the lesser-known Nijinsky, to life. She has an excellent command of the period and the dance world, and an ability to draw characters who will enrapture the reader. Agent: Helen Heller, Helen Heller Agency.

  • Toronto Star "A tale of intrigue, love, betrayal and redemption set in the realm of art and artists, exploring the line between dedication and obsession, creation and madness. . . . Stachniak weaves together beautifully the myriad moments that bring this fascinating family and period to life."
  • Publishers Weekly, starred review "[Stachniak] exquisitely blends fiction with fact in this novel about the remarkable ballet dancers Vaslav and Bronia Nijinsky. . . [and] brilliantly brings the story of Bronia, the lesser-known Nijinsky, to life. She has an excellent command of the period and the dance world and an ability to draw characters who will enrapture the reader."
  • Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times bestselling author of The Painted Girls "Carefully researched and capaciously imagined. . . . More than just an absorbing historical account of an avant-garde artist, The Chosen Maiden is a fully-realized tale of family, love, loss and enduring resilience."
  • Quill & Quire "Many works of fiction take as their inspiration true events and persons of historical significance, but few do so as lovingly and imaginatively. . . . The Chosen Maiden delves into the workings of an artist's mind and reveals the resiliency of art in a time of worldwide political upheaval and war. . . . A remarkable work of historical fiction."
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