Nureyev: His Life
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Nureyev: His Life

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  62 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Everyone knows the name Rudolf Nureyev, but does anyone know the man behind the myth? Diane Solway does; she spent over four years and conducted more than 200 interviews with his family, his friends and lovers, his colleagues, and even his doctors to research Nureyev: His Life, the first book to capture him as he was onstage and off -- a great artist whose talent was match...more
Hardcover, 625 pages
Published February 11th 1999 by William Morrow & Company (first published October 1st 1998)
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The book gives impression of reading a work of psychologist. From the beginning to the end of the book, Diana could perfectly describe Nureyev's complex personality: disadvantaged childhood in Russia and aspiration for exposing a new world, warm Tatar blood and rudeness, egoism and ambition, brilliant talent and hard work, subtle sensibility and perfectionism, amazing beauty and extreme sexuality, the factors which contributed him becoming a great dancer of the century. Metaphors she used are fu...more
Vivian Valvano
Oh, God, I am obsessed with him. So - why 3 stars and not 5? Solway's research is prodigious, but she has no writing flair. Dry style. And for Nureyev, of all people, I wanted it to soar. Still, I'm glad to have read all of the information. He could be a holy terror with people, but he could also be very generous and a good friend. And he was never dull! And, above all, he was an artistic genius. No one can compare in ballet for me. And I know that he danced far too long, when he no longer had t...more
Michael Armijo
Loved this book. I was inspired by Nureyev and is wish to be THE BEST. The fact that he loved what he did SO MUCH made him all the better. I took away a lot from this book. Here's just a bit of it:

NUREYEV: His Life by Diane Solway

“You are naked all the time in front of the audience.” –Rudolf Nureyev

“You can’t teach people passion. You can turn it ON, but you can’t teach it.”
-Rudolf Nureyev b. 3-17-1983 Irkutsk, Russia; d. 1-6-1993 (age 54), Levallois-Peret, FRANCE

“Never look back,” Nureyev liked...more
One of the greatest dancers and most remarkable individual’s life, retold in this extensive biography.

This has to be one of my favorite biographies of a dancer’s life, as it is such a fascinating and compelling read. I can grantee that you will be hard pressed to find anything more insightful on Rudolf Nureyev’s life, nor as astonishing and most importantly honest. The life of this distinctive individual is one of the most dramatic, memorable stories of our age. Diane Solway delves into the pas...more
Jan 24, 2008 Ben rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: only masochists
I've been reading this book for well over a year. I've checked it out like 40 times from the Berkeley Public Library. I'm on page 656 out of 1200 or something. I just can't get through it!

Just like Great Expectations, in epics like these, I really only like the stuff about early childhood and late life and death. All the name dropping and overly sympathetic biography in between is annoying. I really zone out when the 106th multi-syllabic Russian name is mentioned with no prior context.

I wanna ge...more
May 17, 2009 Yvonne added it
This was a very well-received gift, many Christmases ago, and I devoured it. Always a fan of the dancer, it gave me much to respect about the man, as well. Nureyev was such an icon, that I wasn't sure I'd enjoy reading about the reality of him, as opposed to just appreciating the single dimension, but this book was a good read, a surprisingly good one. The style was the perfect blend of biography and fairy tale in tone, (though it was well-researched and is reportedly, quite accurate) and it kep...more
JM Randolph
I love this book. He's fascinating, she researched it well, and I blew through it. . . right up to the part where he's dying from AIDS and keeps dancing because it gives him a reason to live, even though he probably shouldn't be performing in front of people anymore. I put the book down at that point, telling myself I'd pick it back up again, but I couldn't. Too sad. It's a great biography, very honest.
Dec 12, 2007 Lshagalov2003 rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Zack Derich
I have never read before such a detailed biography book! Especially this book is interesting for an American reader because it tells (in big part) about a life "behind the iron curtain", in the Soviet Union. And what is important - tells truthfully! Author - Diane Solway - found many covered facts, known only to interior habitants, Soviet citizens. I highly recommend this book!
Exhaustively detailed, it's nonetheless an enthralling study of a legendary artist. Not sure if the portrait painted of the subject by this biographer is very accurate/well-balanced (it's not very flattering either), but the effort put into the book is evident.
One-word summary: LONG. It is just stuffed with many, many facts. And many, many irritating footnotes. There was no attempt to provide any meaningful analysis of either his life or his dancing. Nureyev comes across as rather repellent.
heather jackson
May 11, 2007 heather jackson rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Alabama Ballet Aficianados
Hey- Dame Sonia is pictured in this book, and there are some really interesting anecdotes about her, too~!

It's not a great read- but an interesting scim!
Claire Webster
Long and perhaps a little in need of editing, but nonetheless an absorbing and fascinating insight into the life and death of a unique artist.
I love this book because I love ballet. It's like ballet is another planet looking down on earth.
Everything you wanted to know about the King of Ballet. Excellent, detailed.
What an amazing man. The world lost much with his death.
Kathy marked it as to-read
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