The Life and Death of Sophie Stark
Meet Sophie Stark. Sophie Stark stole her name from a photograph she saw of a woman she liked the look of when she was 14 years old. Sophie Stark is probably on the Autism Spectrum. Sophie Stark has many admirers but few friends. Sophie Stark reminds me of Lisbeth Salander – the computer hacker from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series – many think she is a genius but she is emotionally trapped in her own world and uses the camera lens to try and understand how the people around her tick.
What we know about Sophie is recounted to us from her friends and family who are enchanted, used, and eventually hurt by Sophie’s film-making genius. Sophie’s voice is never heard except through the description of her art. Her artistic journey is an exploration of the way creating art and having a passion for your art can turn you into a dissatisfied and melancholy discontent, in a way that is familiar to us from the experiences of artists such as Van Gogh and Ernest Hemmingway but is rarely explored in a female artist.
In The Life and Death of Sophie Stark Anna North writes with a clarity and emotional depth I love. As we learn each character’s back story and as they each struggle to find a way to relate to Sophie, their true feelings and motivations are revealed.