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Sofie & Cecilia by [Katherine Ashenburg]

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Sofie & Cecilia Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

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Length: 409 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Sofie and Cecilia is magnificent. The characters are so tenderly and deeply explored, I couldn't put it down . . . A joyful experience . . . One of the best things I've read in years.” —Sarah Polley
“A wonderful book, full of exquisite moments, that cleverly reminds us how partial our understanding of every life-event is. I love Ashenburg’s wisdom about women, about the evolution of a marriage, about how we reach a certain age and accumulate so much experience and yet life remains mysterious, even thrilling. A remarkable achievement.” —Rosemary Sullivan

“Closely and beautifully observed. . . . As readers, we experience both the affirmation of women’s friendships, and the challenge of devoting oneself to a life of artistic creation.” —Jane Urquhart
Sofie & Cecilia paints a marvelously detailed, slyly witty portrait of two women of talent married to successful painters in early twentieth-century Sweden—when girls might dabble in drawing lessons, but must put aside any artistic ambitions after marriage. Their growing independence is fueled by their friendship, sustained over the length of their lives. Fans of Elena Ferrante (not to mention Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf, whose books are a bonding point) will revel in this wise and intensely moving story of two women navigating a world that expected women to weave, knit and embroider in the shadow of the real artists, their husbands. Nevertheless, they persisted.” —Marni Jackson

“Katherine Ashenburg slips her needle delicately beneath the skin to reveal the anatomy of an artist. This is the best kind of writing about art that is an art itself. So many pleasures here for the reader: delights of dress and décor and food and furnishings, all of the made things that make life better. Through the graceful procession of the years, strong strands of friendship tie these women together: their love of art, and books, and intelligent observation of the tangled knot of marriage.” —Marina Endicott, Giller shortlisted author of Good to a Fault
“Against the luscious backdrop of the early twentieth-century Swedish art world, Sofie & Cecilia offers a fascinating, intimate look at the many variations of female love: maternal love, marital love, love of industry and craft, love of beauty. Most of all it is a celebration of the love that can exist between women friends. An intelligent, tender, highly pleasurable novel.” —Barbara Gowdy, author of Little Sister and The Romantic

Sofie & Cecilia is a coming of age novel in the very best sense of the expression. The story is about two women, the wives of celebrated Swedish artists, who need to survive their marriages (both of which were satisfying and distressing) in order to become the women and the artists (of the brush and the pen) they were meant to be. That is an encouraging and rich theme. And speaking of rich, the novel rewards the reader with the pleasures we (or at least I) normally associate with biography and history because it has so many detailed and informative descriptions not only of painting, arts and crafts, but the complexity of women’s domestic lives in the first third of the twentieth century.” —Sandra Martin, writer and Globe & Mail journalist

“Elegantly constructed . . . [Sofie & Cecilia] is rich in meticulous and often fascinating detail about Swedish life and art.” —Quill & Quire

About the Author

KATHERINE ASHENBURG is the author of three books and many magazine and newspaper articles. She has written for The New York Times, The Globe and Mail and Toronto Life, among other publications. Her books include The Mourner's Dance: What We Do When People Die, and The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History, which was published in 12 countries and six languages. In former incarnations, she was a producer at CBC Radio and was The Globe and Mail's Arts and Books editor. In 2012, she won a Gold Medal at the National Magazine Awards for her article on old age.

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