Longlisted for The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Award
A The Millions Best Seller
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
An enthralling literary debut that tells the story of a young girl’s coming of age in the cutthroat world of New York City ballet—a story of obsession and the quest for perfection, trust and betrayal, beauty and lost innocence.
In the roiling summer of 1977, eleven-year-old Mira is an aspiring ballerina in the romantic, highly competitive world of New York City ballet. Enduring the mess of her parent’s divorce, she finds escape in dance—the rigorous hours of practice, the exquisite beauty, the precision of movement, the obsessive perfectionism. Ballet offers her control, power, and the promise of glory. It also introduces her to forty-seven-year-old Maurice DuPont, a reclusive, charismatic balletomane who becomes her mentor.
Over the course of three years, Mira is accepted into the prestigious School of American Ballet run by the legendary George Balanchine, and eventually becomes one of “Mr. B’s girls”—a dancer of rare talent chosen for greatness. As she ascends higher in the ballet world, her relationship with Maurice intensifies, touching dark places within herself and sparking unexpected desires that will upend both their lives.
In the present day, Kate, a professor of dance at a Midwestern college, embarks on a risky affair with a student that threatens to obliterate her career and capsizes the new life she has painstakingly created for her reinvented self. When she receives a letter from a man she’s long thought dead, Kate is hurled back into the dramas of a past she thought she had left behind.
Told in interweaving narratives that move between past and present, Girl Through Glass illuminates the costs of ambition, secrets, and the desire for beauty, and reveals how the sacrifices we make for an ideal can destroy—or save—us.
“Powerful. Gripping. Incandescent. These are only a few of the words circling my mind after reading GIRL THROUGH GLASS. This beautifully written novel drew me into the rarified world of dance, filled with passion, glory and heartbreak. As powerful storytelling kept me turning the pages, Wilson’s extraordinary voice whispered to me about the things that both bind and divide us: desire, ambition and love. This book will stay in my heart for a long time.”
— Jean Kwok, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation
“In her lyrical debut novel, GIRL THROUGH GLASS, Sari Wilson explores the beauty and complexity of time and the emergence of a woman’s identity. This engrossing story, told with great artistry, captures the romance and rigor of art-making. Sari’s prose is balletic: elegant, musical, and captivating.”
— Ruth Ozeki, bestselling author of A Tale for the Time Being, shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award
“A debut novel of exceptional daring and verve, Sari Wilson’s Girl Through Glass is a chilling, evocative portrait of the 1970s New York dance world and the young lives it consumed.”
— Kate Walbert, author of Our Kind, National Book Award finalist
“Few novels have affected me as deeply as Sari Wilson’s GIRL THROUGH GLASS. Wilson writes with an insider’s authority of both the closed, cult-like world of ballet and the grim, crime-riddled New York of the 1970s, but this book’s real pleasures lie in the depth of her characterizations. I loved, loved, loved this novel. So much so that I hid from my kids in the bathroom so I could read it!”
— Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year
“Before now we almost knew that American ballet, after Balanchine, had-has-something savage and cruel at its heart; otherwise it would not be half so great as it is. But only a writer of very remarkable gifts could have the stylistic brilliance, the athletic daring, speed, power of ellipsis, the leap-to tell this dark story correctly, and to bring to life its principals: the crippled, romantic old man of a mentor figure and the beautiful, damaged young girl he shapes. In her stunning first novel, Sari Wilson has done just this.”
— Jaimy Gordon, author of Lord of Misrule, Winner of the National Book Award
“While Sari Wilson’s take on the New York City dance scene is pungent and vivid and slyly satirical, GIRL THROUGH GLASS is not a novel about dance. For we never lose sight of the girl-eleven-year-old Mira Able, supremely gifted, mentored and groomed and fêted…and desired. This novel of a girl who grows up way too soon is deftly plotted and beautifully written, and is about as suspenseful and affecting as a coming-of-age story can be.”
— Daniel Orozco, author of Orientation and Other Stories
“An astonishing debut. At once chilling and sensual, furious and tender, GIRL THROUGH GLASS…will leave you haunted, mesmerized, and wanting more. I loved it.”
— Elizabeth L. Silver, author of The Execution of Noa P. Singleton
“GIRL THROUGH GLASS explores a lost New York through the eyes of a gifted young dancer struggling to harness the ecstatic power she wields-over her audience, her family, and the grown man who wants to make her his muse. Lush with the shame and exhilaration that lie at the lip of adolescence, Sari Wilson’s debut novel bravely explores the risks of celebrating precocity.”
— Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet
“Sari Wilson has created a dark and beautiful world in these pages filled with complex and fascinating characters. GIRL THROUGH GLASS is an impressive debut novel that will thrill readers with its steadily mounting tension, which builds, layer upon layer, to a surprising and satisfying conclusion.”
— John Searles, bestselling author of Help for the Haunted and Strange But True