The Chosen Maiden

“The Chosen Maiden” by Eva Stachniak (Poland)

Review

“The Chosen Maiden” by Eva Stachniak (Poland), a close runner-up, was chosen as the Summer Reading Group’s Coup de Cœur Summer 2017. It was the longest of the four books, and masterly mixes fact and fiction to tell the story of the Nijinsky siblings from the point of view of the sister, Bronia. Readers loved their story, describing the book as a sweeping saga written with a wonderful richness. They felt that the author managed to deftly portray the great sadness permeating their lives. They liked the balance between both the factual and the fictional, the personal and professional lives of this family of dancers and their entourage. Readers said they had a lot of admiration for the protagonist, describing her as resilient, and they were curious to know more about her life after where the story left off. 

Synopsis

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… Read more 

Nicola’s Summer Reading list 2017

Distinctly historical fiction or with a clear taste of history both past and present, the four shortlisted books for this year’s Summer Reading Group were all of excellent calibre making it tough to settle on just one favourite. Our readers also noticed a recurrent theme in all four of violence and hardship and regretted that the summer books weren’t a bit more light relief. As Nicola explained, her Summer Reading Group is a continuation of her regular Book Club. Her aim is to pick books that challenge the reader to step outside their comfort zone and broaden their perspective. She hopes her selection of books will inspire readers to open their minds to another way of seeing the world and their place in it. At the end of the discussion, when it came time for voting, “The Golden Legend” was chosen by a slight margin as Best Summer Read 2017.

“The Chosen Maiden” by Eva Stachniak (Poland)
“The Golden Legend” by Nadeem Aslam (Pakistan)
“The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead (U.S.)
“The Woman Next Door” by Yewande Omotoso (South Africa)

* Best Summer Read
In italics, SRG’s Coup de Cœur

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