I’ve been a huge Megan Abbott fan for years. She captures intense female friendship and rivalry (and the intertwining of the two) like few other writers. Her previous thrillers mined this theme by exploring some of the settings where women are brought together and then pitted against each other, from cheerleading and gymnastics to nightclubs and ultra-competitive science labs. But somehow she had never written about ballet before now. Enter The Turnout, set in a ballet school gearing up for its annual performance of The Nutcracker just as some very disturbing secrets from the past begin to emerge.
If you want to know about the inspiration behind the novel, Abbott has written a wonderful piece here about her own childhood ballet lessons and the link the novel is making between ballet, competition and expectations around becoming and being a woman. She describes comparing herself against other girls and women at the ballet school: ‘I wondered how I would ever become that. And the “that” was not just a ballet dancer. It was, in part, a woman. Because the two were forever yoked for me, as they are for many young girls.’
I hope you love The Turnout as much as I do – it’s bloody, sexy, nail-biting and intense while also leaving you with a lot to think about.
by Megan Abbott
***AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER***
The mesmerising new thriller, set in the hothouse world of a ballet school, from the multi-award-winning writer Megan Abbott.
'A book you will not be able to forget' MARK BILLINGHAM
With their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, Dara and Marie Durant have been dancers since they can remember. Growing up, they were trained by their glamorous mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance. After their parents' death in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago, the sisters began running the school together, along with Charlie, Dara's husband and once their mother's prized student. The three have perfected a dance that keeps the studio thriving.
But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school's annual performance of The Nutcracker-a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration-an interloper arrives and threatens their delicate balance.
'A twisting, turning story of revenge and redemption' STYLIST
'The feeling of menace grows stronger with every page' GUARDIAN
'Slow-burning and feverish, with all the intensity of a classic American film noir' MAIL ON SUNDAY
'Charged with foreboding, the novel throbs with gothic tension' IRISH TIMES
'Dark and juicy and tinged with horror' NEW YORK TIMES
'Dark and mesmerising' HARRIET TYCE
'This is Megan Abbott working at the absolute height of her talent' ATTICA LOCKE
'There's no one who captures the atmosphere of a tight-knit hothouse world, in all its feverish beauty and brutality, quite like Megan Abbott' TANA FRENCH