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Books: The Turning-Gloria Whelan

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Gloria Whelan (2000 National Book Award Winner for Homeless Bird) has a new book out called The Turning about a 16 year old corps de ballet dancer at the Kirov Ballet. It's 1991 and the Kirov is going on tour, our heroine and a friend are thinking of defecting.


I'm not a fan of Whelan's work, so I just skimmed the first few chapters. She is much better at subtly explaining certain ballet terms, so dancers will probably not find this book as annoying as certain others I could name.


This is also Whelan's fourth book about the same family in Russia during different eras (Angels in the Square, The Impossible Journey, and Burying the Sun) so readers may wish to start with these earlier ones.


Age range: 10-12 is my best guess, despite the much older protagonist.

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It's 1991 and the Kirov is going on tour, our heroine and a friend are thinking of defecting.

Thanks for the heads up about this book, dido! I followed your link, read the Amazon reader reviews and am interested.


1991 was an unbelievable year in the history of the world. At the end of that year, there would be no more Soviet Union -- and no more need for defection.


I'm curious enough to buy the book to see how the political story is told. The earlier three books sound intriguing as well. I wonder if I'll agree with you about the author. :)

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No, I think that The Turning will probably be quite good; I meant just what I said: I personally am not crazy about her writing style, that's all. I didn't even like Homeless Bird! ( :) blasphemy)


It's an intriguing idea, to follow the same St. Petersburg family in 1917, 1934, 1944 and 1991.

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