Saturday, May 09, 2009

Bookshelf: Vanessa and Virginia

Just finished reading the above title, after picking it up at B&N last night (I always get a book on payday. It's a rule). I love Virginia Woolf's writing and one of my favorite movies is The Hours, so this was right up my alley. 
Susan Sellers (who is a coeditor on the Cambridge University Press editions of Virginia's works) has written about the sisters' passionate, intense, complicated relationship from Vanessa's point of view. As the older sister, she took care of Virginia after their mother died and the two of them lived together with their brothers in their Bloomsbury house after their father's death. Vanessa was a painter; Virginia, a writer. While Vanessa married Clive Bell and has three children, Virginia's 'children' are her novels, for which she earns wide acclaim. 
Sellers tells the story in short vignettes, demonstrating the ties that bind all sisters--intense love, but also, in this case, equally intense jealousy. They often loved the same people, competing to be first in art, in love, in people's affections. But yet, neither one of them can see how much the other wants her sister's life. Vanessa wishes to have her paintings be as recognized as Virginia's books; Virginia, in turn, wants the bustling life, children, and love of others that her sister has. 
This is one of the best books I have read this year and will definitely become a travel companion this summer. Highly recommended! 


Jane said...

Do you ever your books? Or buy books from there ...

I go to the bookstore and take pictures of what I want ... then go home and buy it online!

Emily said...

I buy a lot of my books from Amazon. Most of my "new" fiction I get at Borders or B&N. I also love independent bookstores in the city.