I just finished reading Various Positions by Martha Schabas — what a wonderful writer! This book was actually featured on the Great Books Marquee at last year’s festival, published in June of 2011 by Doubleday Canada . I’m a little late on reading it, but it was worth the wait.
Shy and introverted, and trapped between the hyper-sexualized world of her teenaged friends and her dysfunctional family, Georgia is only at ease when she’s dancing. When she is accepted into the notoriously exclusive Royal Ballet Academy–Canada’s preeminent dance school–Georgia thinks she has made the perfect escape. In ballet, she finds the exhilarating control and power she lacks elsewhere in her life: physical, emotional and, increasingly, sexual.
This dynamic is nowhere more obvious than in Georgia’s relationship with Artistic Director Roderick Allen. As Roderick singles her out as a star and subjects her to increasingly vicious training, Georgia obsesses about becoming his perfect student, disciplined and sexless. But a disturbing incident with a stranger on the subway, coupled with her dawning recognition of the truth of her parents’ unhappy marriage, causes her to radically reassess her ideas about physical boundaries–a reassessment that threatens both Roderick’s future at the academy and Georgia’s ambitions as a ballerina.
I found this book very easy to read. Martha Schabas is an incredible writer who knows how to draw a reader into the lives of her characters. It was very hard to put down. The plot was both interesting and slightly disturbing, as I waded through the mind of a teenage girl trying to come to terms with her own sexuality, and the power it yields her. It is definitely worth a read, as the writing is wonderful and the plot is absorbing!