The Performance

A stunning dancer, choreographer, Anyaskaya d’Borovik, was born thirty-five years ago into New York City’s driving, churning energy. Her mother, now departed, was an adventurous, high strata White Russian exile while her father, now also departed, was keeping to the Russian tradition of mysticism long practiced by the venerable d’Borovic family. Though thoroughly American, Anya embodies these clashing traits lucidly in a unique but believable characterization, which makes her distinct in New York’s high society and heralded artistic circles. In both, her raven-haired beauty and striking talent impresses all.

While battling to secure financing for bringing to the stage the most fateful dance performance of her life, she encounters Henri Mellington, heir to an international banking fortune. That soon launches a dire and gripping chain of complications.

Despite her struggle to avoid it, Anya meets someone else, Salvatore ‘Sonny Boy’ Aiello. Though not as privileged as the others pursuing her, he’s more notorious, original and unforgettable. Mellington – stung and smarting in his rejection – turns in revenge to his family’s vast political connections and a march toward disaster is set in motion.

Sonny Boy, always intriguing, often funny and potentially lethal, began his rise among the borgatas, restless gangs of tough, young Italians marauding the back streets of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, leading ultimately to prominence luxury and power in the demimonde of lower Manhattan. Though Sonny’s life is a colorful one filled with mordant humor and teasing playfulness, he is described most of all as having ”…the hardness of someone tested brilliantly in raging flames–unyielding, enhanced, ineffably rare.”

Anya, though mortified, is totally enraptured unable to resist it and now their love races on sometimes touching, sometimes perilous, always exciting. This surging tension keeps rising relentlessly through the whole book.

In the end, though, the power and privilege of the Mellingtons prevails and our “star-crossed lovers” taste in pity and sorrow the full bitter consequences.

1. Let me tell you something about Anyaskaya d’Borovik. With a name like that there’s no ignoring her, not in the highest circles, nor the lowest. Harder yet is ignoring the severe beauty of her firm, sensuous mouth and cheekbones and dancer’s flowing grace.

2.  And she’s flourishing here in Manhattan, making her life often radiant far beyond what money alone can bring. Each day for her isn’t merely a day but a sojourn into something more earnest, more splendid in her constant search for ways to vanquish the mundane.

3. And Anya remains trapped hardly stirring in her bed, caught in the razor-sharp ironies of her life and in the twilight, perhaps, of the growing confusion threatening the whole human race.

Review of The Performance

By Bill Branyon

If you want sustained excitement of many kinds dialed up to a fever pitch for over three-hundred compelling pages, read Bennett Kremen’s new novel The Performance. He spins out artistic, religious, romantic, mafioso and journalistic tension in escalating, intriguing amounts that crashes towards a wondrous crescendo.

Having Kremen’s book beckoning from your nightstand is like having a baseball size chunk of plutonium radiating power and adventure in your possession. Anyaskaya d’Borovik is a 2nd generation Russian dancer-choreographer in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village who has come up with a way to unite the world’s religious fervor in one elegant evening. Unfortunately, it also excites religious bigots who see their Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish bailiwicks threatened by such an audacious synthesis.

As Any progresses in her conception, she angers one of New York’s premier financiers after a night of romance turns sour. This attracts Sonny, a mobster who saves her from the financier but interposes himself as her irrepressible suitor. The romance of the two spans many of New York’s most romantic locations, restaurants, and time slots as they sail, drink, and rhapsodize to delectable love. Sonny’s earthy charm eventually conquers Any’s heart, but her journalistic friend Evan informs her of encroaching threats from other mobsters and the cops.

Meanwhile rehearsal for the performance goes on as Any desperately looks for financing which includes glamorous parties of the New York’s literati, producers, philanthropists and high-class inebriates. Her fellow dancers are caught up in the excitement of Any’s vision but rehearsals are constantly interrupted by her romance and other concerns.

I won’t continue to reveal the plot for fear of spoiler alerts, but suffice it to say the book escalates to a fascinating climax that makes it impossible to put down. To call it a page turner is to call the Con Edison power grid an Eveready battery. The reader becomes enthralled with about five possibilities of what could happen, but what does happen is still unexpected and satisfying.

Buy the book and guarantee yourself several weeks of transcendence far beyond the mundane. Unless you can’t escape the book’s hypnotic power and read it in one explosive siting.

Bill Branyon

Author of the sci fi classic: Billy Graham Does Heaven, the philosophy-political blockbuster Liberating Liberals and the romantic revelation Advanced Romance. See free excerpts from all these books and more at the website

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