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Astonish Me


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About the Author

Maggie Shipstead is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her first novel, Seating Arrangements, was a New York Times best seller, a finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, and the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction.


"So dazzling, so sure-handed and fearless, that at times I had to remind myself to breathe." -Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette

"A novel you must read." -Ron Charles, The Washington Post

"I will be paying close attention to Shipstead's career from here on in." -Jeffrey Eugenides

"A breathtaking work of art." -O, The Oprah Magazine

"Precise.... Flawless.... Transcendent." -Maureen Corrigan, NPR

"A grand arabesque into the world of dance. . . . Thrilling." -Time

"Electrifying. . . . Astonish Me shines." -San Francisco Chronicle

"The inner lives of [Shipstead's] characters feel as real and immediate as the shifting settings they inhabit: still-gritty mid-1970s Manhattan, shabbily elegant Paris, the sunbaked suburban sprawl of Southern California. . . . Shipstead's youth may be a talking point, but her talent transcends it. She's astonishing." -Entertainment Weekly

"Seamless and full of small elegances . . . Lovely. . . . Reading Astonish Me, I didn't need to be astonished. I was happy." -Annalisa Quinn, NPR

"A searing rumination on insecurity, secrecy, and friendship. . . . Shipstead nails the details of being perpetually en pointe" -O, The Oprah Magazine

"Maggie Shipstead takes hold of the reader and doesn't let go. Astonish Me is a haunting, powerful novel." -Dani Shapiro

"Sardonic and insightful. . . . [Shipstead] does caustic humor, simmering hostilities, and social envy well." -New York Times Book Review

"Deeply engrossing . . . [A] thoughtful meditation on the relentless pursuit of perfection and just how far we're willing to go for love." -BookPage

"A bravura display of high-performance art, the only constant its quest for perfection." -The Guardian (London)

"The emotionally nuanced tale of barre-crossed lovers and the majestic, mysterious world of professional dance. A supple, daring, and vivid portrait of desire and betrayal." -Booklist (starred review)

"Shipstead's insights into human nature take center stage. The story's surprisingly satisfying outcome encourages us to accept imperfection and even take refuge in doing so." -Nylon Magazine

"Bold and thrilling. . . The way the characters come together in new and surprising pairings is one of the book's many pleasures." -Boston Globe

"Full of delights. . . . Maggie Shipstead is a writer to watch." -The Washington Times

"Impressively sure-footed ." -Elle

"Sharp and memorable . . . Full of the kind of keen observations about people and relationships that made her first book, Seating Arrangements, one of 2012's most delightful literary surprises." -San Diego Union-Tribune

"Exhilarating." -Columbus Dispatch

"Spans continents, decades, and generations . . . . A total pleasure to read." -The Rumpus

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