Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy

Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy

Paperback

By (author) Jostein Gaarder, Translated by Paulette Moller

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Product description

When 14-year-old Sophie encounters a mysterious mentor who introduces her to philosophy, mysteries deepen in her own life. Why does she keep getting postcards addressed to another girl? Who is the other girl? And who, for that matter, is Sophie herself? To solve the riddle, she uses her new knowledge of philosophy, but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined. A phenomenal worldwide bestseller, SOPHIE'S WORLD sets out to draw teenagers into the world of Socrates, Descartes, Spinoza, Hegel and all the great philosophers. A brilliantly original and fascinating story with many twists and turns, it raises profound questions about the meaning of life and the origin of the universe.

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Author information

Jostein Gaarder is the author of SOPHIE'S WORLD, a huge bestseller in over 40 countries. He lives in Oslo with his wife and two sons.

Review quote

"First, think a beginner's guide to philosophy . . . Next, imagine a fantasy novel--something like a modern-day version of "Through the Looking Glass". Meld these disparate genres, and what do you get? Well, what you get is an improbable international bestseller . . . [A] tour de force." --"Time"

Editorial reviews

What if we were all just characters from a book written by Major Albert Knag as a philosophical present for his daughter Hilde's 15th birthday? This is the question that Sophie Amundsen must ask as she tackles the history of philosophy in what begins as a personalized correspondence course for which she never signed up. Coming home from school one day, Sophie finds questions in her mailbox, followed by typewritten pages about philosophy. She also gets strange birthday cards apparently intended for a Hilde Moller Knag in Lillesand, whom she has never met. Through these unusual circumstances, Sophie embarks on the study of philosophy with Alberto Knox - a middle-aged mystery man in a beret - only to discover that she is nothing more than the fictional heroine of a novel (called Sophie's World) about the history of philosophy. Hilde, on the other hand, whom we meet halfway through the book, appears to be a real girl whose father has written a novel entitled Sophie's World. She in turn learns about philosophy by reading about Sophie's study of philosophy, never suspecting that she is merely a character in a book - Sophie's World - written by a philosophy teacher named Jostein Gaarder to teach teenagers the beauty of philosophical discourse. In this long, self-referential novel (to use the word loosely), Gaarder presents philosophy in a clear, cogent way, using Sophie's and Hilde's experiences to illustrate his points. The reader who is expecting something other than a creative textbook, however, will be disappointed. Maybe Gaarder can fool Norwegian youths into learning philosophy, but savvy American kids won't be so easily hoodwinked. Index. (Kirkus Reviews)