Picks and Pans Review: The Four Temperaments

updated 09/02/2002 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/02/2002 AT 01:00 AM EDT

By Yona Zeldis McDonough

Happily married Oscar, a first violinist with the New York City Ballet, is smitten by Ginny, an ambitious young dancer in the corps. Oscar's wife, Ruth, senses that her husband is having an affair. And if that's not enough heartbreak for one woman, Ruth later walks in on their son Gabriel embracing Ginny. Gabriel is also married, of course.

Farcical elements aside, this is a story about ordinary people blindsided by powerful emotions. Telling a complex tale from five points of view, McDonough effectively limns the inner turmoil of richly developed characters. Dance lovers will swoon over the setting, but you don't need to know a battement from a relevé to enjoy this fascinating, deeply human novel. (Doubleday, $23.95)

Bottom Line: Raises the barre

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