Vanessa & Virginia: A Novel

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HMH, Apr 12, 2010 - Fiction - 224 pages
This novel of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell “captures the sisters’ seesaw dynamic as they vacillate between protecting and hurting each other” (The Christian Science Monitor).
You see, even after all these years, I wonder if you really loved me. Vanessa and Virginia are sisters, best friends, bitter rivals, and artistic collaborators. As children, they fight for the attention of their overextended mother, their brilliant but difficult father, and their adored brother, Thoby. As young women, they support each other through a series of devastating deaths, then emerge in bohemian Bloomsbury, bent on creating new lives and groundbreaking works of art. Through everything—marriage, lovers, loss, madness, children, success and failure—the sisters remain the closest of co-conspirators. But they also betray each other.

In this lyrical, impressionistic account, written as a love letter and an elegy from Vanessa to Virginia, Susan Sellers imagines her way into the heart of the lifelong relationship between writer Virginia Woolf and painter Vanessa Bell. With sensitivity and fidelity to what is known of both lives, Sellers has created a powerful portrait of sibling rivalry, and “beautifully imagines what it must have meant to be a gifted artist yoked to a sister of dangerous, provocative genius” (Cleveland Plain Dealer).
“A delectable little book for anyone who ever admired the Bloomsbury group. . . . A genuine treat.” —Publishers Weekly 

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User Review  - timswings - LibraryThing

Beautiful written with deep insight in the lives of the two sisters. I so love the work of Woolf. But I get also the wish to look again and with fresh eyes at the paintings of Vanessa Bell. Read full review

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User Review  - rmckeown - LibraryThing

I have read a lot of Virginia Woolf, including some of her journals, letters, and a biography by her nephew, Quentin Bell. But I know almost nothing about her sister, the painter Vanessa Stephens Bell ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Susan Sellers is a professor of English at St. Andrews University in Scotland and coeditor of the Cambridge University Press edition of Virginia Woolf’s works. She is a past recipient of the Canongate Prize for New Writing and the author of many short stories and nonfiction books, as well as the novel Vanessa and Virginia.

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