Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark

Staff review by Chris Saliba

Written like a thriller, Anna North's second novel is an examination of a troubled artistic genius.

Anna North’s second novel, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, examines the artistic temperament and how it can drive some over the edge. Sophie Stark is a young filmmaker with a natural talent. While her early films may be a bit rough around the edges, she’s certainly got a vision and can capture an unerring quality in her human subjects. Sophie, who in a piece of reinvention has changed her name from Emily to the more dramatic Sophie Stark, goes from strength to strength. Her films attract critical attention. She screens her films at important festivals. At the same time, her personal life is a slow motion train wreck. Manipulative, cold, self-centred, yet also strangely vulnerable and capable of empathy, Sophie divides those around her.

The novel is narrated in the first person through the separate voices of Sophie’s family, friends, lovers and professional colleagues. Sophie never speaks directly in the novel herself. All of these different perspectives build up a striking portrait of a brilliant, complex, difficult and ultimately doomed artist. Written like a thriller, mixing shrewdly observed character study with heart-stopping mystery, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark will keep you enthralled until the very last page.

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, by Anna North. Published by W & N Fiction. ISBN: 9781474603072  RRP: $29.99

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