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From the Hardcover edition.
From the Hardcover edition.
1. This novel is told from five alternating points of view. What effect does this have on the way the narrative unfolds? What do you learn by reading the story through different sets of eyes?
2. A large part of the novel is devoted to the subjects of ballet and classical music. What themes do these two art forms suggest? How are the themes developed? Is music treated differently than dance? If so, in what way?
3. Both Penelope and Ginny are young women who grew up without their fathers. What effects of does this loss have on their respective characters? Are they each damaged in some way? How is that damage expressed?
4. This novel takes place chiefly in New York City, on Manhattan¹s Upper West Side. How is the city portrayed in the book? What role does it have in the story?
5. Ruth does not leave--or even consider leaving--Oscar when she finds out he has been unfaithful to her. Instead, her decision to go is prompted by something else. What is it that finally propels her into flight? Are you sympathetic with her decision? Why or why not? Do you feel she makes the right choice in the end?
6. What role do children play in the development of the story? Can you identify the novel¹s children, from different generations, and the meaning they suggest?
7. Ruth is a woman who wanted daughters, and had only sons. How does this affect her relationships with her daughters-in-law and her granddaughter Isobel? Is there an unfulfilled longing in her as a result of this desire? What effect does that loning have on the unfolding of the narrative?
8. Penelope is described as having obsessive-compulsive disorder. What does this suggest about her character? How are the themes of chaos and control expressed elsewhere in the book?
9. Describe Gabriel¹s relationship to the three central women in the novel: his wife, his mother and Ginny. What is his relationship with his father like, and how does it intersect with his connections to these three women?
10. Oscar and Gabriel each have an affair with the same woman. What themes does this suggest? How are these themes explored and resolved in the course of the story?
11. The concept of the four temperaments is explained, briefly, in the story. What significance does the idea of temperament--as a way of describing character--have in the novel? How is this achieved?
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Posted September 8, 2002
This is a wonderful book - as an ex-dancer myself, it is very true to the backstage life of the ballet world - accurate to the very last detail. A must for all to read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 27, 2002
I absolutely loved this book - a must read for ballet fans and others alike! As an ex-ballet dancer myself, I found all the backstage details to be completely accurate.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 15, 2002
I absolutely loved this book. It took me through every emotion possible. Even though I disagreed with the actions some of the characters chose to take, it was hard to dislike any of them because, at some point in my life, I've been where each of them were and felt those same feelings with the same justifications. Please read this, you wll not be disappointedWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 7, 2002
Page-turning and literary both, The Four Temperaments is a heartfelt story about the yearning for(and sometimes damaging price of) love. People with indelible characters--I especially loved Ruth and Penelope--the book's as bravura a performance as opening night at the New York City Ballet.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.