Gripping and provocative, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark tells a story of fame, love, and legacy through the propulsive rise of an iconoclastic artist.
“It’s hard for me to talk about love. I think movies are the way I do that,” says Sophie Stark, a visionary and unapologetic filmmaker. She uses stories from the lives of those around her—her obsession, her girlfriend, and her husband—to create movies that bring her critical recognition and acclaim. But as her career explodes, Sophie’s unwavering dedication to her art leads to the shattering betrayal of the people she loves most.
Told in a chorus of voices belonging to those who knew her 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, both for the artist and for the people around her.
This was an interesting and quite unique story. It’s told from various perspectives, all people who knew Sophie in some way, but never from Sophie herself. There are friends, ex-partners and her brother to name a few, and all have a different tale about her to tell.
Sophie herself I found a bit irritating to start with. I know she’s supposed to be elusive and enigmatic, and I’m sure I’m probably in the minority with this, but I thought to myself as I read: if I knew her and she was my friend/ girlfriend/ whatever, I’d get seriously annoyed with what seems to be flakiness- or perhaps just eccentricity. However as I read on I realised what seemed to be selfishness and coldness was actually her unsettled way of ‘being’, if that makes sense! She seems to burst into people’s lives like a whirlwind, but still manages to remain quite surprising and, at times, very confusing. I warmed to her a bit more as the novel went on, but I still didn’t care that much about her. However, she was interesting to read about- and that’s the main thing, after all!
Despite this, Anna North’s writing is really absorbing and certainly kept me reading on. She really tells a story really well, despite this novel being quite fragmented in the way that each section is told by a different character.
This is an original and well written novel which includes some great descriptions that had me picturing the place, person or situation perfectly.
[My Rating: 4/5]
Many thanks to the pubisher and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.