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S. J. Parris and Stephanie Merritt

Review < Back

Vanessa and Her Sister - Bloomsbury reimagined

Sunday 15th February 2015


In this impressive novel, everyone is afraid of Virginia Woolf, particularly her elder sister, the artist Vanessa Bell, who has assumed a maternal responsibility for her troubled, brilliant sibling after the death of their parents.

In the reams of biography, memoir and fiction generated by the Bloomsbury group, Vanessa has remained elusive; perhaps because her legacy is visual rather than literary, and perhaps because she never acquired the mythos that grew up around Virginia as a tragic genius. By means of an invented diary based on Vanessa’s extensive correspondence and the memoirs of those who knew her,Priya Parmar places her centre stage and seeks to explore the inner landscape of a woman who – in this version, at least – was a steadying influence on this collection of brilliant and volatile young intellectuals...


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