Book Review | The Life and Death of Sophie Stark

Author // Anna North
Publication Month // June 2016
Publisher // Blue Rider Press
Genre // Contemporary Fiction


Gripping and provocative, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark tells a story of fame, love, and legacy through the propulsive rise of an iconoclastic artist.

“It’s hard for me to talk about love. I think movies are the way I do that,” says Sophie Stark, a visionary and unapologetic filmmaker. She uses stories from the lives of those around her—her obsession, her girlfriend, and her husband—to create movies that bring her critical recognition and acclaim. But as her career explodes, Sophie’s unwavering dedication to her art leads to the shattering betrayal of the people she loves most.

Told in a chorus of voices belonging to those who knew her best, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is an intimate portrait of an elusive woman whose monumental talent and relentless pursuit of truth reveal the cost of producing great art, both for the artist and for the people around her.


The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is a captivating look at an unapologetic filmmaker, as told by the six people who loved her and knew her (arguably) the best.

Anna North has crafted a remarkable story about fictional director, Sophie Stark, a woman who openly admits to being difficult to get to know and connect with. She creates films out of the stories and lives of the people that she knows, and goes to any length to create the story she wants to tell. Her dedication to her craft comes at the expense of everything else in her life: family, friends, and potentially, herself.

Each part of Sophie’s story is told by the people in her life – her brother, her girlfriend, her husband, etc. Some are told in a traditional narrative style, the stories forming entire chapters (no short chapters here, folks). Each story highlights one of the films that Sophie has crafted, and is then concluded by an article from a film critic who follows Sophie’s career.

What I loved is how each narrator adds their own pieces to the puzzle that is Sophie – not one of them has her pinned down. She is all-consuming for them and yet she’s dedicated only to her craft; to her art.

This is a great read, and a great way to spend an afternoon.

I gave The Life and Death of Sophie Stark 4 out of 5 stars.

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