What Happened to Sophie Wilder

What Happened to Sophie Wilder

3.4 8
by Christopher Beha
     
 

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A heartfelt exploration of faith and love and friendship, What Happened To Sophie Wilder is a beautiful, absorbing work about the redemptive power of storytelling: a literary love story.
Charlie Blakeman has just published his first novel, to almost no acclaim. He's living on New York's Washington Square, struggling with his follow-up, and floundering within

Overview

A heartfelt exploration of faith and love and friendship, What Happened To Sophie Wilder is a beautiful, absorbing work about the redemptive power of storytelling: a literary love story.
Charlie Blakeman has just published his first novel, to almost no acclaim. He's living on New York's Washington Square, struggling with his follow-up, and floundering within his pseudointellectual coterie when his college love, Sophie Wilder, returns to his life. Sophie is also struggling, though Charlie isn't sure why, since they've barely spoke, after falling out a decade before. Now Sophie begins to tell Charlie the story of her life since then, particularly the story of the days she spent taking care of a dying man with his own terrible past and of the difficult decision he forced her to make. When she disappears once again, Charlie sets out to discover what happened to Sophie Wilder. Christopher Beha's debut novel explores faith, love, friendship, and, ultimately, the redemptive power of storytelling.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
…[a] beautiful, whip-smart first novel…Beha…is a precise, attentive and unshowy novelist. There are no symphonic sentences to quote in this review because his novel is constructed out of lines simple and functional as fence posts. Its power accrues over pages, as Charlie's fate intersects with Sophie's and Bill's. Beha announces the book's stylistic and emotional mission early on, when Sophie delivers a rant about the Beat writers. "There's no control, no sense of form," she complains. "Eventually it all turns sentimental, like a conversation with a sloppy drunk." Her critical opinion of the Beats is debatable, but What Happened to Sophie Wilder is the kind of novel she'd admire: sober, unsentimental and delivered with intelligence and passion.
—Mark Athitakis
Publishers Weekly
Beha’s debut novel (after the memoir The Whole Five Feet) is a thoughtful journey about the place of intellectual curiosity in relation to faith, friendship, and love. Charlie Blakeman is enamored of Sophie Wilder, fellow creative writing M.F.A. student. They spend hours talking, writing, and reading before Sophie decides she needs a break and disappears, for days or sometimes weeks, but always returning. Then, a betrayal causes a longer breach. Both Charlie and Sophie publish novels, but only Sophie’s is acclaimed. Struggles with their second books push Sophie toward Catholicism. When she drops back into Charlie’s life, he wants to pick up the pieces, whereas she has a hidden agenda. It’s difficult to empathize with Sophie, even when she’s trying to do the right thing, because she’s so blatantly indifferent to the harm she causes. The stories she tells are manipulated to make them better, and readers also see Sophie through the stories Charlie tells, raising the potent question: where does the real Sophie end and Charlie’s interpretation of her begin? Beha is smart enough to let the reader decide. Agent: Sarah Burnes, the Gernert Company. (June)
The New York Times Book Review
[Beha's] first novel, What Happened to Sophie Wilder, is about many things—the New York publishing world, the growing pains of post-collegiate life, the rigors of Roman Catholicism—but at its center it's a moving meditation on why and for whom we write.
—Sarah Towers

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935639312
Publisher:
Tin House Books
Publication date:
06/12/2012
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,024,647
Product dimensions:
4.50(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Christopher R. Beha is an associate editor at Harper’s Magazine and the author of a memoir, The Whole Five Feet. He contributes frequently to the New York Times Book Review. What Happened to Sophie Wilder is his first novel.

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What Happened to Sophie Wilder 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous 10 months ago
unt. ybnly jny gol
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maybe it's me, but this book was ODD. There were times that ir flowed and was interesting, but mostly just ran on and on erratically. I would not recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This beautifully written first novel has main characters you really care about and a compelling story that also raises important questions of faith, morality and religion. After reading this novel, I will go back and read this author's memoir. We read this in our bookgroup and the discussion was terrific.
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