Bonnette, on 20 February 2012 - 01:49 PM, said:
Although we won't be able to arrive at a consensus about the issues raised in this thread, one thing seems clear: This is a novel, pure and simple, not a "novelization" based on solid research - the vaunted "hundreds of hours of documentaries and NYCB footage" do not exist, and neither Le Clercq nor her friends were talking; so, barring mediumistic intervention, there is no basis for the author's claim that Le Clercq's authentic essence has been tapped. This is what concerns me about the book - not its form, but its claims. These strike me as offensively opportunistic, even shameful. I would not have had such a strong reaction if the novel had been marketed as essential fabrication, rather than distilled essence - but then, who would have bought it?
There is an author's note in the book which describes more fully the extent of Ms. O'Connor's research. It includes at least one very important interview with someone who was on the European tour, and this has a major ramification in the book; viewing all of Le Clercq's available performances, both online and at the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library; viewing hundreds of hours of documentaries and performances relating to Balanchine, his ballet predecessors, Le Clercq, Robbins, etc.; reading almost every book in English related to Le Clercq and Balanchine; Le Clercq's two books; examination of dozens of photographs, etc. The quote "hundreds of hours of documentaries and NYCB footage" does not mean hundreds of hours of Le Clercq dancing!
I think this thread has reached a point of diminishing returns. Arguments on both sides of the issue have been pretty much exhausted, and all I can add at this point is, when it comes out, read the book! Or rather, hesitate to criticize it if you decide not to read it. You can take it out from a library if you don't want to contribute to the author's wellbeing, but don't assume that the book isn't as good as Toibin or Tsypkin, or anyone else on the basis of ignorance.