Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday Memes: Vanessa And Her Sister

Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where you can share the first paragraph, or a few, of a book you are reading or thinking about reading soon.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Today I am spotlighting Vanessa And Her Sister by Priya Parmar

London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby, and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous artistic friends who will grow into legend and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer.
Each member of the group will go on to earn fame and success, but so far Vanessa Bell has never sold a painting. Virginia Woolf’s book review has just been turned down by The Times. Lytton Strachey has not published anything. E. M. Forster has finished his first novel but does not like the title. Leonard Woolf is still a civil servant in Ceylon, and John Maynard Keynes is looking for a job. Together, this sparkling coterie of artists and intellectuals throw away convention and embrace the wild freedom of being young, single bohemians in London.
But the landscape shifts when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love and her sister feels dangerously abandoned. Eerily possessive, charismatic, manipulative, and brilliant, Virginia has always lived in the shelter of Vanessa’s constant attention and encouragement. Without it, she careens toward self-destruction and madness. As tragedy and betrayal threaten to destroy the family, Vanessa must decide if it is finally time to protect her own happiness above all else.
The work of exciting young newcomer Priya Parmar, Vanessa and Her Sister exquisitely captures the champagne-heady days of prewar London and the extraordinary lives of sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf.

Opening Paragraph


Thursday 23 February 1905 — 46 Gordon Square,
Bloomsbury, London (early)

    I opened the great sash window onto the morning pink of the square and made a decision.
    Yes. Today.
    Last Thursday evening, I sat in the corner like a sprouted potato, but this Thursday, I will speak up. I will speak out. Long ago Virginia decreed, in the way that Virginia decrees, that I was the painter and she the writer. ‘You do not like words, Nessa,’ she said. ‘They are not your creative nest.’ Or maybe it was orb? Or oeuf? My sister always describes me in rounded domestic hatching words. And invariably, I believe her. So, not a writer, I have run away from words like a child escaping a darkening wood, leaving my dark burning sister in sole possession of the enchanted forest. But Virginia should not always be listened to.

My Teaser

    We must be careful in Cornwall. After thirteen happy childhood summers, all our ghosts will be waiting for us there.
page 50

So...what do you think? Is this one you would pick up? Leave a comment below!
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  1. Thank you for reminding me of this book! I meant to add it to my TBR (should have included it on my Top 10 Nonfiction Books I Want to Read list) and forgot...and I do love the intro!

    1. Actually, this is a fictionalized account of the sisters. So you can add it to your 'historical fiction' pile!

  2. I'd like to read this one... hope you're enjoying it!

  3. I've had my eye on this one.

    My Tuesday post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2015/02/first-chapter-first-paragraph-92.html

  4. I love the language in this one...and the sisters fascinate me. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  5. Yes, it is one I would pick up to read!

  6. I already like Vanessa, just from one paragraph. I'd like to read more.

  7. I definitely agree with the teaser because there is something dangerous about going back to a place where you spent some happy holidays as a child because it will never be the same! I really like the sound of this one because I quite like most of the authors in the Bloomsbury group! Thanks for stopping by :) Hope you have a great week!
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  8. This is on my list ... hope you like it.

  9. I haven't heard of this one, but it sounds like it will be very good. I enjoy reading books set it that time period in London.

  10. I'm wondering what the heck Vanessa is going to say when she speaks up! I'd keep reading to find out. Sounds like this story has a fascinating cast of characters. I'm adding it to my collection of TBRs.
    My Tuesday post features SIX STRINGS.

  11. I saw this book on goodreads last night. I'm not sure I would read it after studying a little bit about Virginia Woolf and reading some of her books. I'll be interested to see what you think of it. Have a nice week. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

  12. I've been wondering about this book. I like the intro, so I'd keep reading!

  13. Like a sprouted potato. Love it!

    Mine this week is a middle-grade fantasy: http://pdworkman.com/excerpt-from-island-of-fog/