Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf - Book Review #69

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Mrs. Dalloway
by Virginia Woolf

On a June morning in 1923, Clarissa Dalloway is preparing for a party and remembering her past. Elsewhere in London, Septimus Smith is suffering from shell-shock and on the brink of madness. Their days interweave and their lives converge as the party reaches its glittering climax. Here, Virginia Woolf perfected the interior monologue and the novel's lyricism and accessibility have made it one of her most popular works.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf is extraordinary, exceptional and simply ravishing. I have never read anything like that in English. I didn’t even think it was possible to write the way Virginia Woolf wrote in English. Her sentences are piece of art, each and every one of them. Her, what may seem as complex, punctuation reads completely natural and makes total sense. Woolf’s writing reminded me of impressionists’ paintings – you have to stand away from the painting on some distance to be able to see the whole picture. Also, up-close observation can be fascination as well. Same as impressionist from the tiny and sometimes as it might look like unrelated to each other brush strokes created astonishing masterpieces, Virginia Woolf wrote her prose, using words and punctuation.

When I started to read Mrs. Dalloway, I was annoyed that it wasn’t divided on chapters or separated by any other visible means, rather than a meaning. I was annoyed because I couldn’t put the book down, the story was flowing farther and farther, caring me away with itself and not letting me go or take a break. It was hypnotizing. After a while I came to terms with this and even started to like it, thinking that Mrs. Dalloway was actually divided, however not on chapters but with the sound of different clocks all over the London that were measuring hours and halves of hours.

I was astonished how masterfully Woolf was able to tell the story from different points of view and how smooth and almost invisible the transition between one and another was. However despite that fact, I was always able to understand from whose point of view the narration was at any particular moment. Woolf managed to do that without confusing the reader. And not only Woolf was telling the story from different points of view, she was also describing the present events, revealing the secrets of the past and showing us the glimpse of the future. That too was managed with enormous grace and unimaginable lightness.

I could probably spend forever trying to explain what I felt, what I saw, what I found in Mrs. Dalloway and never be satisfied. So I will only say – thank you Mrs. Virginia Woolf. Thank you for showing me the horizons I didn’t even dream existed.


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