Vanessa and Virginia
By Susan Sellers
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151014743, 224pp.)
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
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Vanessa and Virginia are sisters, best friends, bitter rivals, and artistic collaborators. As children, they fight for attention from 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 everythingmarriage, lovers, loss, madness, children, success and failurethe sisters remain the closest of co-conspirators. But they also betray each other.
In this lyrical, impressionistic account, written as a love letter and elegy from Vanessa to Virginia, Sellers imagines her way into the heart of the lifelong relationship between writer Virginia Woolf and painter Vanessa Bell. With sensitivity, imagination, and fidelity to what it known of both lives, Sellers has created a powerful portrait of sibling rivalry.
SUSAN SELLERS is a professor of English at St. Andrews University in Scotland