Top positive review
A Haunting Book
7 December 2012
Girl In White
This is a lovely slow burn of a book. I usually read fiction quickly but like most poetry this book refused to be hurried. It is rich with details about Paula Modersohn-Becker and her life as an artist. It feels at times like a series of paintings that you could step into and the locations of Paris and particularly Worpswede are vividly portrayed. It also deals with the contemporary dilemmas of how as a woman you can make your way in the world as an artist and the competing demands of family and duty are ever present.
The voices in the book alternate between that of Mathilde, Paula's daughter in a fictionalised form and Paula, who died shortly after her daughter was born. Sue Hubbard manages to pull off the trick of making it seem as though their stories are unfolding in the present as you read, rather than in the past. Clearly the book is underpinned by an immense amount of research but you don't feel the weight of it in the writing.
As the John Berger quote on the back cover says it is a `haunting book'.