First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar


I’ve picked Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar based on the fact that it is likened to Loving Frank (and The Paris Wife, which I still haven’t read!). It begins –

“I opened the great sash window onto the morning pink of the square and made a decsion.
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 was 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 sharp burning sister in sole posession of the enchanted forest. But Virginia should not always be listened to.”

My experience reading fictionalised accounts of historical figures has been hit and miss but I think this one looks good. Thoughts?

Join in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday over at Bibliophile by the Sea.

14 responses

    • I think they often fall down when it comes to dialogue – some just don’t ring true, and I’m sure that’s the most challenging part for authors to reconstruct. For the record, I’ve loved The Women, Frances and Bernard, Z, and Loving Frank. Not so great – The Aviator’s Wife and Under a Wide and Starry Sky.

  1. I love “like a sprouted potato!” – it would describe perfectly the reaction from a number of my colleagues at a recent training event I attended! On historical figures, I listened to a World Book Club podcast with Pat Barker at the weekend and she talked about the challenge of writing fictionalised accounts of historical figures ( she was thinking of Sassoon, Rivers and Wilfred Owen in Regeneration) – she made the point that she never ‘goes to bed’ with her historical characters which I liked! Personally I’d agree that reading of historical characters is hit and miss – but when done well like Cromwell in Hilary Mantel’s books – it brilliantly brings them to life!

    • Yes, I liked that line as well!

      Confession: haven’t completed any Mantel… couldn’t get into it (probably should have persisted because my book group raves but my biceps (!) weren’t up to it!).

      • I got into training for Mantel with The Luminaries – I haven’t actually read it yet but I pick up that brick of w book regularly and pump book arm iron with it!

  2. I do like the sound of this one…I read another book about the sisters that I enjoyed (called Vanessa and Virginia). I am curious about how this one will play out. Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.