Vanessa & Virginia – Susan Sellers

When I read Vanessa and Virginia, it immediately aroused different emotions in me. I think the biggest reason for this is that I haven’t read a woman author who wrote about women for a long time. I can say that it was great to meet Susan Sellers.


Vanessa and Virginia is a novel about Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, circling their lives. I was not very familiar with the lives of these sisters, so I thought I might not be able to judge it well. But of course, I was so sweetly wrong that I am a bit glad that I did not do intensive research before reading.

Vanessa & Virginia - Susan Sellers

In my opinion, this is a fascinating book because Vanessa Bell was chosen as the narrator instead of Virginia Woolf. It was very nice to read the exciting lives, relationships, love, loss, joys and ambitions of these creative sisters from Virginia’s painter sister’s point of view. It was nice because anyone can find something from themselves while reading the lives of these women.

If you have a sister, as I do, I think you’d love this book. You will both meet an excellent author and listen to the effects of being a sister from someone else.

After her research, Susan Sellers portrayed Virginia as a very sympathetic and somewhat difficult character in her sister’s eyes. In other words, there is a Virginia that you can both hate comfortably and love no matter what. I think we can say that Virginia’s life is a bit “luckier” than Vanessa’s life. But I am not telling you more. You better read this book. Enjoy!

Vanessa & Virginia - Susan Sellers

Vanessa & Virginia

You see, even after all these years, I wonder if you really loved me.

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 everything–marriage, lovers, loss, madness, children, success and failure–the 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 is known of both lives, Sellers has created a powerful portrait of sibling rivalry.

Susan Sellers

Susan Sellers is a British author, translator, editor and novelist. She is Professor of English and Related Literature at the University of St Andrews, and co-General Editor of the Cambridge University Press edition of the writings of Virginia Woolf.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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