Girl In White

Sue Hubbard Novelist Girl in White
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"The poet and art critic, Sue Hubbard, has written a richly layered book about Paula Modersohn-Becker, … In Hubbard's moving imagining of Paula's story, she creates a believable, parallel tale about Paula's daughter Mathilde, a violinist."
Sipora Levy Jewish Chronicle 27th February 2013

"Imagine a chest of drawers – unopened for a hundred years. Inside small garments carefully folded. A woman today opens the drawers, unfolds what she finds and, as she does so, the garments become stories. The chest of drawers belonged to the painter, Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907). … (and contain) the secrets of some exceptional, very lonely paintings, which had a considerable influence on "modern" German art. …those intimate folds become interstices of History, beyond any notion of what is modern or not. I recommend this haunting book."

John Berger

Beautifully written and wholly knowledgeable – Girl in White is a triumph of literary and artistic understanding, a tour du force: masterly, moving. 'Hubbard goes where few dare go, and succeeds. You are the less for not reading it.

Fay Weldon

"In art," the Expressionist painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907) declared, "one is usually totally alone with oneself." For a female artist in the early 20th century, such aloneness was radical in itself. It is Modersohn-Becker's radical aloneness, as artistic pioneer and independent woman, which particularly fascinates Sue Hubbard in her new novel, a fictionalised account of the artist's life.


During her most productive period - her last stay in Paris - she is destitute, and repeatedly compelled to appeal for financial aid from others, including her estranged husband. Ultimately, she returns from Paris to her husband in Germany, forced by history into this "compromise". As one character puts it, "I don't believe the world is yet ready for a woman artist to make it alone."

Yet it is precisely this "aloneness" that is a prerequisite for art. "Art without pain, without sacrifice, without loneliness," says Rainer Maria Rilke, one of Modersohn-Becker's lovers, is "impossible". It is the impossibility of Modersohn-Becker's position - torn between the loneliness of art and enforced selflessness of her role as wife - that destroys her. After returning to her husband, she falls pregnant, and dies shortly after childbirth.
The power of Hubbard's novel for contemporary readers is in its distillation of dilemmas which, of course, are still pressing for women today. As Rilke wrote of Modersohn-Becker in his great poem "Requiem", it is her spirit which, of all his dead friends, most seems to haunt the future.
Jonathan Taylor The Independent


Rothko's Red

Sue Hubbard Novelist Rothko's Red
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Evidence of the poet's gift for imagery - "the wind snaps at the washing, filling out the drying shirts like the bloated bodies of the drowned" - is in plentiful supply. Of the ten stories, only two are in the first person. The second and last in the book is nakedly personal, and all the more powerful for it.
The Independent 9th September 2009

Each story in this, Hubbard's first collection of short fiction is nominally centred around art. But what truly links the pieces herein is the themes of longing, loss and melancholy, and a sense that not even an intimate knowledge of the beautiful and the sublime can protect one from the daily tragedies of life.
The collection is quiet, almost to the point of defiance, but in its understated, delicate descriptions of the mundane, Rothko's Red has an acute power.
The New Statesman


Depth of Field


Sue Hubbard Novelist Depth of Field
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'Highly evocative… the rare quality, not of a text but of a place. It surrounds its readers and waits until they see in the dark and make their own discoveries.'
John Berger

Depth of Field is an accute observation of the nature of identity and memory. Hannah's close observation of the physical world, both in the country and the East End, embues it with a deep sense of both history and place. John Berger has described the novel as 'highly evocative' giving 'the rare quality, not of a text, but of a place. It surrounds its readers and waits until they see in the dark to make their own discoveries.
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