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The Four Temperaments, a Novel

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This is scheduled for release next week -- there was a posting on alt.arts.ballet about it, and I ran to Amazon. Here's the book description:

The Four Temperaments

by Yona Zeldis McDonough

The spellbinding story of a father and son, both married, who fall in love with the same alluring ballerina.

Oscar Kornblatt has been a first violinist with the New York City Ballet for so many years that he scarcely notices the throngs of eager young dancers who fill the ranks of the corps de ballet. But Ginny Valentine catches his eye, and when he comes to know her he becomes utterly enchanted by her. One night when Ruth, his quietly independent wife, is away, he brings Ginny back to his Upper West Side apartment and the two become lovers.

While the affair doesn?t last, Oscar?s attachment to Ginny continues to flourish. He invites her to join his family for Thanksgiving dinner, where she meets and falls in love with Oscar?s eldest son, Gabriel, home from San Francisco for the holiday. Gabriel, married to a beautiful, highly unstable woman, finds himself falling under Ginny?s spell. As the bonds of the family begin to erode, Ruth takes drastic and shocking measures to salvage what is most precious to her: her baby granddaughter, Isobel.

Set against the glamorous, exciting world of the New York City Ballet, The Four Temperaments explores the ways in which love and marriage are tested. Through its unforgettable cast of characters, this novel reveals how the demands of the flesh can suddenly, almost inexplicably, turn lives upside down. With the assurance and virtuosity of a seasoned storyteller, Yona Zeldis McDonough presents the powerfully sexy story of two adulterous affairs and imbues them with an irresistible emotional undercurrent.

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There have been bad ballet novels in the past, so this plot description leaves me more phlegmatic than melancholic. I'm sure that at this point, author and publisher are sanguinic about the novel's prospects, but it sounds like that kind of thing that would render most critics choleric. The author bears a distinguished dance surname. Any relation to Don McDonough?

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don mcdonagh, who wrote, among other works, a biog. of martha graham, 'the rise and fall and rise of modern dance' and 'the complete guide to modern dance' spells his name differently, as here:


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As a general rule I avoid most novels written by ladies with two last names. (I did read Uncle Tom's Cabin, but that was for class.) I realize I shouldn't make up my mind in advance, but I have serious doubts about any book written by someone named Yona Zeldis McDonough.

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I did a search on Amazon to see what else the author has done - quite a wide variety of stuff! Children's stories, historical figures, relationship advice and a book celebrating Barbie's 40th birthday! Could it be that there is more than one person called Yona Zeldis McDonough?:confused: ;)

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hello all of you readers out there--

I work occasionally at a bookstore, and one of my "perks" is to be given advance readers' copies by the publishers' representatives. I pounced on _The Four Temperaments_ because of the ballet references, but was disappointed when I read it. It revolves around an affair between a young rising star in a NY dance co. and one of the ballet's musicians (he's married). The actual references to ballet are few and far between and tend to reinforce negative stereotypes of dancers--they have no life, they're willing to sacrifice personal relationships to be successful, etc...

It's an okay summer read, but not great literature that I'd read again. Borrow it from the library and take it to the beach with you, but don't pay for a new hardback copy--that's my advice!


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I enjoyed The Four Temperaments. A fascinating summer read. I would have liked a bit more of the ballet thread but there was enough to make the book seem realistic. I don't really see that that Virginia Valentine, the rising young dancer in the book, is different from the rest of the human race. Living one's life is sometimes a messy business. She made mistakes but recovered and moved on. It wouldn't have been the same if they had all gone to Disneyland!

The only flaw I detected was the reference to Selva pointe shoes (p.194) which I think were discontinued long before the days of SUVs. Or perhaps it was a reference to a dance supply shop of that name in Saratoga, NY?

In any case, I found that once I began I couldn't put the book down until I finished it.

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