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The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna…
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The Life and Death of Sophie Stark (2015)

by Anna North

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I really liked what I read, it just didn't feel complete to me. I wanted more of Sophie as a character, to know her a little better, or to at least see her in action just a few more times. I was left wondering why the other characters loved her so intensely. It occurs to me that it was perhaps the point that we never know enough about Sophie; even so I didn't find it particularly satisfying. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
I had little to no expectations going into this book (I think I found it abandoned on a shelf at work), and I was thrilled to find myself captivated throughout. Great characters, beautiful writing. ( )
  thishannah | Jul 17, 2018 |
This novel is completely out of my comfort zone. For one, the genre for this novel most closely resembles realistic fiction, and I don't usually read novels from this genre. This novel is also very different for me as it deals with cinematography, which is something I am completely unfamiliar with. When I first picked up this novel, I had done so without reading its premise so I was quite surprised to find out it had to do with the movie-making industry. Nevertheless, I continued reading the book - and I am so glad that I did!

Sophie Stark is a force to be reckoned with in the film making industry. She is able to reach into a hidden place inside of those around her - her crush, her girlfriend, and her husband - to create stories for her movies, which then bring her critical acclaim and recognition. But as her career trajectory rises, Sophie's dedication to her movies leads to betrayal of the people she love the most. At the end of it all, the only thing Sophie will wonder is was the relentless pursuit for the truth worth it all?

This was by far one of the most amazing novels I have ever read. I am so glad that I did not turn away from this book and I gave it a chance. From the first page, it sucked me right in. Told in the perspectives of those who loved Sophie, it shows us both how we can know a person through the views of others as well as how little we actually know about someone. This novel is paradoxical in the sense that it appears to seek to explain Sophie and ends up not really doing so. And this very paradox is the inherent characteristic that makes Sophie Sophie. I loved how the story moved along and I loved reading how each character interacted with Sophie; while each character's experience was unique, they all shared commonalities due to Sophie's unchanging personality. I was mesmerized by the way the art of the movies was described and it gave me a real appreciation for this niche area. Anna North writes a spellbinding story, and I am utterly bewitched. If you are looking for a unique, and brilliant read that will captivate you from the start, then this is the novel for you! ( )
  veeshee | Jan 29, 2018 |
Review to come. ( )
  majesdane | Aug 8, 2017 |
The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North is a highly recommended novel that exposes the truth behind the artist.
Acclaimed filmmaker Sophie Stark is an enigma, even to those who know her best. This haunting novel tells us about the life of Sophie through the voices of six different individuals who knew her best. Each chapter is the voice of one of these six individuals, while not a word is heard directly from Sophie. What we gather and learn about her character is all filtered through the experiences of others.

The six voices include: Allison, Robbie (Sophie's brother), Jacob, Daniel, George, and Benjamin Martin. Allison was romantically involved with Sophie and the story of her family became Sophie's movie Marianne. Robbie is ever protective of Sophie and in college helps her with her first movie, Daniel, a documentary of her obsession with college basketball player. Sophie makes a video for musician Jacob and they get married briefly. She betrays him when the story of his mother becomes her next movie, Woods. Daniel was the college basketball star in her first movie. George is a successful screenwriter who Sophie uses for his contacts and makes the movie Isabella. Benjamin Martin is the film critic whose reviews of Sophie's films are included between each chapter.

It is clear that Sophie is an enigma even to those who know her best. We know that Sophie has always been a loner and found it difficult to connect with other people. She was born as Emily Buckley, but changed her name. She unapologetically uses people and their lives to further her art. Does she really feel love or care for anyone besides herself and her vision? She is driven and focused. Her vision for a film and her creative process supersedes all personal relationships. Clearly she is talented, but what cost does she extract from those around her while working on her films? Is the final creation of art enough to excuse personal betrayal? Must a great artist always be tortured?

North's writing is excellent which helps make The Life and Death of Sophie Stark an engrossing literary story puzzle. The individual stories each add some essential pieces to the puzzle and work together to make a more complete picture of who is Sophie Stark. They don't explain everything. This is a puzzle with missing pieces. What North leaves us with, after these stories from those who knew her, is that the legacy Sophie Stark has left behind is her films that, presumably, might fill in some of the missing holes and help explain her life.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of the Penguin Publishing Group for review purposes. ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399173390, Hardcover)

Gripping and provocative, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is a haunting story of fame, love, and legacy told through the propulsive rise of an iconoclastic artist. Sophie Stark begins her filmmaking career by creating a documentary about her obsession, Daniel, a college basketball star. But when she becomes too invasive, she finds herself the victim of a cruel retribution. The humiliation doesn’t stop her. Visionary and unapologetic, Sophie begins to use stories from the lives of those around her to create movies, and as she gains critical recognition and acclaim, she risks betraying the one she loves most.

Told in a chorus of voices belonging to those who knew Sophie best, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is an intimate portrait of an elusive woman whose monumental talent and relentless pursuit of truth reveal the cost of producing great art. It is “not only a dissection of genius and the havoc it can wreak, but also a thunderously good story” (Emma Donoghue).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:05 -0400)

An unapologetic filmmaker uses the stories of those around her to create movies that bring her both critical acclaim and ire from the people whose secrets she has exposed. By the author of America Pacifica.

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