Vanessa and her sister : a novel

by Parmar, Priya, 1974-

Format: Print Book 2015
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Northern Tier Regional Library Fiction FIC PARMA
Location  Northern Tier Regional Library
 
Collection  Fiction
 
Call Number  FIC PARMA
 
 
Summary
A New York Times Notable Book * An Entertainment Weekly "Must List" Pick * "Prepare to be dazzled."--Paula McLain * "Quite simply astonishing."--Sarah Blake

What if Virginia Woolf's sister had kept a diary? For fans of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank comes a spellbinding new story of the inseparable bond between Virginia and her sister, the gifted painter Vanessa Bell, and the real-life betrayal that threatened to destroy their family. Hailed by The New York Times Book Review as "an uncanny success" and based on meticulous research, this stunning novel illuminates a little-known episode in the celebrated sisters' glittering bohemian youth among the legendary Bloomsbury Group.

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London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby, and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous artistic friends who will grow into legend and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer.

Each member of the group will go on to earn fame and success, but so far Vanessa Bell has never sold a painting. Virginia Woolf's book review has just been turned down by The Times . Lytton Strachey has not published anything. E. M. Forster has finished his first novel but does not like the title. Leonard Woolf is still a civil servant in Ceylon, and John Maynard Keynes is looking for a job. Together, this sparkling coterie of artists and intellectuals throw away convention and embrace the wild freedom of being young, single bohemians in London.

But the landscape shifts when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love and her sister feels dangerously abandoned. Eerily possessive, charismatic, manipulative, and brilliant, Virginia has always lived in the shelter of Vanessa's constant attention and encouragement. Without it, she careens toward self-destruction and madness. As tragedy and betrayal threaten to destroy the family, Vanessa must decide if it is finally time to protect her own happiness above all else.

The work of exciting young newcomer Priya Parmar, Vanessa and Her Sister exquisitely captures the champagne-heady days of prewar London and the extraordinary lives of sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf.

Praise for Vanessa and Her Sister

"Fiction and history merge seamlessly in this dazzling novel." -- Entertainment Weekly

"Being related to Virginia Woolf can't have been easy. In this delightful novel, Parmar re-imagines the brilliant, fragile writer and her turn-of-the-century bohemian friends. . . . You'll be spellbound." --People

"Rarely do you encounter a woman who commands as much admiration as does the painter Vanessa Bell in Priya Parmar's multilayered, subtly shaded novel." -- The New York Times Book Review

"[A] gossipy, entertaining historical novel . . . Parmar conjures a devastating fictional portrait." -- USA Today

"Captivating . . . echoes of Austen's Sense and Sensibility emerge in Parmar's portrayal." -- Newsday

"An elegant, entertaining novel that brings new life to the Bloomsbury Group's intrigues." -- The Dallas Morning News
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In her second historical novel, Parmar (Exit the Actress, 2011) portrays Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, Clive Bell, and Leonard Woolf and, through a reenvisioning of the Bloomsbury group's letters, postcards, and telegrams, along with the invention of Vanessa's diary, offers access to their fascinating lives during a snippet of time: 1905-11. Parmar's intimate viewpoint reveals the inspired, contentious, loving, and envious aspects of their relationships while also highlighting their daring, often risqué resistance to lingering Victorian values. At the center, sisters Vanessa and Virginia are just beginning to discover themselves as women and artists, and Parmar shines brightest when exploring Vanessa's internal landscape. There is a good-versus-bad-sister story here, but the narrative is well developed enough to evoke sympathy for each sister's struggle to handle Virginia's mental illness as it shifts the ground beneath their feet. Parmar's novel sparkles, intrigues, and attracts, just as the Stephen sisters must have done in their time. It should inspired readers to revisit the works of the Bloomsbury crowd in a new light, especially Virginia Woolf's.--St. John, Janet Copyright 2014 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Before becoming the celebrated writer Virginia Woolf, young Virginia Stephens lived with her sister, Vanessa, and her brothers in the Bloomsbury neighborhood of London, where they surrounded themselves with other artists and intellectuals. Told in diary entries and letters, this novel captures that period, characterized by emotional upheavals and family crises as well as intellectual and artistic conversations. Emilia Fox is perfect in the role of Vanessa, whose point of view dominates the story. Fox captures Vanessa's feelings of responsibility and exasperation toward her sister, her mixed feelings about her suitor Clive Bell, and her earnest desire to be a serious artist. Julian Rhind-Tutt is likewise excellent as family friend Lytton Strachey: flamboyantly gay, full of lively gossip, prone to self-deprecating humor, and passionately longing for a man he cannot have. Daniel Pirre and Anthony Calf both offer serviceable, straightforward narrations in their respective roles as Leonard Woolf and Roger Fry. The one misstep is Clare Corbett, who is cast as Virginia, the baby of the family and described as brilliant and witty, but also childish, immature, wild, reckless, selfish, prone to fits of hysteria, and actual madness. In narrating Virginia's chapters, Corbett's voice is deeper than the voice of other female characters, with a crackly quality and an overly posh accent, all of which make her sound like a middle-aged woman, not the childish 20-something girl she is supposed to be. The effect is jarring. However, only a handful of chapters are told from Virginia's point of view, so it does not detract too much from the rest of the narration, which is excellent. A Ballantine hardcover. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Bell, Vanessa, -- 1879-1961 -- Fiction.
Woolf, Virginia, -- 1882-1941 -- Fiction.
Sisters -- Fiction.
Women artists -- England -- 20th century -- Fiction.
Women authors, English -- 20th century -- Fiction.
Bloomsbury group -- Fiction.
London (England) -- Intellectual life -- 20th century -- Fiction.
Biographical fiction.
Historical fiction.
Publisher New York :2015
Edition Ballantine books trade paperback edition.
Language English
Description xii, 361 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN 9780804176392
0804176396
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