Synopses & Reviews
One day when Sophie comes home from school, she finds two questions in her mail: Who are you? and Where does the world come from? Before she knows it, she is pondering all the great questions of Western philosophy (from the Greeks to Kant, to Marx and Freud) with a mysterious mentor. But Sophie is also receiving a separate batch of equally unusual letters. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up in Sophie's world? To solve this riddle, Sophie uses her new knowledge of philosophy, but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined.
"Woven into the twist-run plot, the lectures on philosophy frantically approach the 20th century in order to conclude simultaneously with the story framing them. Mr. Gaarder discovers ingenious ways to make the thought of each philosopher pertain to Sophie's and Hilde's solution of her personal mystery. A climactic philosophical garden party becomes the novel's most comic and memorable set piece, inserting into this Norwegian book of virtues, with its homage to the Western intellectual canon and its spirit of common sense, a counterspirit of carnival and sexual anarchy....As philoso-narrative, Sophie's World is a world above 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' but a universe below The Magic Mountain. In my view, literate readers would do better to try Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy, which is shorter on magic but longer on wit, intelligence and curmudgeonly skepticism." John Vernon, The New York Times Book Review
"Sophie's World is sheer delight. How I wish I'd had it during my college freshman survey of philosophy!" Madeleine L'Engle