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1001 Stories Collection

Sophie's World

1001 Sophie s World
Added on 09th August 2020

Author Jostein Gaarder
Translator Pauline Moller
First published 1991 (in Norwegian)
Publisher H Aschehoug & Co, Oslo

A blend of mystery, philosophy and fanstasy.

Story

When 14-year-old Sophie Amundsen is sent a letter out of the blue from a mysterious stranger, she embarks upon a whirlwind tour through the history of philosophy. As Sophie's own knowledge grows she also acquires the skills to solve the riddle of the postcards which she keeps receiving addressed to Hilde Moller Knagg, which in turn leads Sophie to an unexpected philosophical twist in her own story.

Why we chose it

Sophie's World became a best seller in Norway and was translated into English in 1995. The book appeals to both older children and adults interested in philosophical thinking and the history of ideas and Gaarder blends mystery, philosophy and fantasy to create a highly distinctive style of writing.

Where it came from

The novel is a concise history of philosophy from the pre-Socratics up to Freud and Jean-Paul Sartre. Gaarder interweaves the fundamentals of the different philosophical traditions within a narrative that itself plays with the question of reality and how much we can believe our senses.

Where it went next

Sophie’s World has been translated into 60 different languages and has sold over 40 million print copies worldwide, making it one of the most commercially successful Norwegian novels ever.

It has been adapted for both film and TV, as well as inspiring a computer game and a Board game.

Associated stories

Gaarder has written many other books, including Hello Is Anybody There - a book for slightly younger children that is often likened to Saint-Expury's The Little Prince.

Added on 09th August 2020

Author Jostein Gaarder
Translator Pauline Moller
First published 1991 (in Norwegian)
Publisher H Aschehoug & Co, Oslo