The life and death of Sophie Stark

Anna North

« Sophie’s tale is told posthumously by the six people who knew her best: her lover; her brother; her husband; her college crush; her colleague; and the journalist who tracked her film-making career from its artless beginning to its sad and shocking end. Through their stories we see Sophie and her brief life in a series of snapshots, from the wide-angled (her humdrum childhood in small town Iowa; the twists and turns of her odd, brilliant directorial career) to the close-up: her esoteric wardrobe; her fondness for chicken and oatmeal; her vast, candid eyes, on which each of the narrators separately fixates. Brilliant, infuriating, all-seeing and unknowable, Sophie Stark makes films said to be 'more like life than life itself'. But her genius comes at a terrible cost: to her husband, to the brother she left behind, and to an actress who knows too much. It has been a hit in America, with Lena Dunham describing its protagonist as a "totally unforgettable female antihero". »

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