Cobble Hill

New novel explores how artist’s ambition shapes her life

Brooklyn BookBeat: Brooklyn Writer to Speak in Cobble Hill on May 21

April 29, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn writer Anna North will appear at BookCourt in Cobble Hill on May 21. Photo by Jenny Zhang

Great art springs from a combination of talent, vision and sacrifice. But at what point is the sacrifice too great? In her new novel “The Life and Death of Sophie Stark,” Brooklyn writer Anna North explores how an artist’s ambition shapes her relationships and her life.

North is coming to BookCourt in Cobble Hill to promote her book on May 21 at 7 p.m.

“The Life and Death of Sophie Stark” presents a multi-faceted view of a woman who pushes the limits of her relationships to create her art. Told from the perspectives of those who knew Sophie best — her brother, her girlfriend and her husband — the novel rotates on the axis of this talented, difficult woman. Beginning with her first project as a film student in college, Sophie uses the stories of the people around her to create movies that bring critical acclaim and recognition. Sophie is able to capture the essence of her subjects in her work, but she is blind to the effects her vision has on them.

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As her success grows, Sophie’s ability to use situations and people to her advantage raises questions about the kind of behavior we tolerate in the name of art. North also encourages us to consider how an artist’s gender affects our expectations. Leniency when it comes to eccentric male artists is common; how do we respond when the creative genius is a woman? As her career explodes, Sophie’s unwavering dedication to her art leads to the shattering betrayal of those that she cares about the most.

“It’s a welcome change to see a woman play the role of tortured artist and to hear instead from those who are left behind in her pursuit,” wrote Kirkus Reviews, and novelist Margot Livesey calls it a “boldly conceived, superbly executed novel.”

Writing with great insight into the nature of art and the spirit that drives it, North explores the lengths Sophie is willing to go for her vision, deeply considering the gendered nature of eccentricity. “The Life and Death of Sophie Stark” explores issues of truth, love, memory, and the relentless pursuit of great art.

The book will be on sale through Blue Rider Press beginning May 19.


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