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Sophie's World

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Country  Norway
Published in English  1994
Author  Jostein Gaarder
Original language  Norwegian
3.9/5 Goodreads

Original title  Sofies verden
Publication date  1991
Originally published  1991
Genre  Philosophical fiction
Published in english  1994
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Publisher  Berkley Books, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (original hardcover), MacMillan (audio)
Media type  Print (hardcover & paperback) and audiobook (English, unabridged CD & download)
Characters  Sophie Amundsen, Alberto Knox, Hilde Møller Knag, Albert Knag, Mother
Similar  Jostein Gaarder books, Philosophical fiction books, Other books

Sophie's World (Norwegian: Sofies verden) is a 1991 novel by Norwegian writer Jostein Gaarder. It follows the events of Sophie Amundsen, a teenage girl living in Norway, and Alberto Knox, a middle-aged philosopher who introduces her to philosophical thinking and the history of philosophy.


Sophie's World was originally written in Norwegian and became a best seller in Norway. It won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1994. The English version of the novel was published in 1995, and the book was reported to be the best-selling book in the world in that year. By 2011 the novel had been translated into fifty-nine languages, with over forty million copies in print. It is one of the most commercially successful Norwegian novels outside of Norway, and has been adapted into a film and a PC game.

Sophie s world by jostein gaarder

Plot summary

Sophie Amundsen (Sofie Amundsen in the Norwegian version) is a 14-year-old girl who lives in Norway in the year 1990.

The book begins with Sophie receiving two messages in her mailbox and a postcard addressed to Hilde Møller Knag. Afterwards, she receives a packet of papers, part of a course in philosophy.

Sophie, without the knowledge of her mother, becomes the student of an old philosopher, Alberto Knox. Alberto teaches her about the history of philosophy. She gets a substantive and understandable review from the Pre-Socratics to Jean-Paul Sartre. Along with the philosophy lessons, Sophie and Alberto try to outwit the mysterious Albert Knag, who appears to have God-like powers, which Alberto finds quite troubling.

Sophie and Alberto's entire world is revealed to be a literary construction by Albert Knag as a present for his daughter, Hilde, on her 15th birthday.

As Albert Knag continues to meddle with Sophie's life, Alberto helps her fight back by teaching her everything he knows about philosophy. Alberto manages to find a plan so that he and Sophie can finally escape Albert's imagination. The "trick" is performed on Midsummer's Eve, after Alberto informs Sophie's mother about everything.


In 1999 Sophie's World was adapted into a Norwegian movie by screenwriter Petter Skavlan. It was not widely released outside of Norway. Kjersti Holmen won an Amanda Award for her role in the movie.


The 1999 movie was also presented as an eight-part TV series in Australia and Iceland, again scripted by Petter Skavlan.

It was also adapted for television in 1995 by Paul Greengrass and shown on the BBC as part of The Late Show. This version starred Jessica Marshall-Gardiner as Sophie, Jim Carter as Albert Knox, and Twiggy as Sophie's Mother.

Board game

In 1999 it was made into a board game by Robert Hyde and Ken Howard, and published by Sophisticated Games Ltd.

Computer game

In 1998 it was adapted into a PC and Mac CD-ROM game by The MultiMedia Corporation.


English space rock band Spiritualized named their 1997 studio album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space after a line in the novel.


Sophie's World Wikipedia

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