Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf

mrs. dalloway
virginia woolf
c. 1925
194 pages
completed 9/3/2009

read for: decades challenge, 100 greatest novels, 1001 books

*may contain spoilers*

Mrs. Dalloway spends her day getting ready for a great party she is throwing in the evening. She and others she encounters during the day reminisce about their pasts and what happens now that they're older.

Oh WOW did this take me a long time to read...about a month, for a book that was less than 200 pages. Sad. Very sad. In the beginning, I could only read this in very small increments. If more than ten pages went by, chances are I would have no idea what was going on. There were several occasions where I would even lose whose point of view I was reading. This drove me crazy. There were some clear spots, when Clarissa or Peter started thinking about their past together, that I could follow and enjoy quite well. But there were other bits, especially those involving Septimus and Lucrezia, that were just a blur. I realize that Virginia Woolf was supposed to have pioneered "stream of consciousness" literature (believe me, my sister the English scholar, who loved this book, told me this several times) which is supposed to be so great, but as my own stream of consciousness is so often incoherent to myself, how am I supposed to follow someone else's?

Last of all, I have to say, someone should have taken the time to introduce Virginia Woolf to the notion that run-on sentences are bad. There is no prize for having the highest count of semi-colons per page. I'm sure this is just another example of the greatness of her writing and I just can't see it, but I think in complete, concise sentences. So should Virginia Woolf.


No comments: