Posted in Book Reviews

Mrs. Dalloway

Mrs. DallowayVirginia Woolf’s brief, exquisite masterpiece reveals the fierce flame often burning within ordinary people living what appear to be very ordinary lives.

Set in London on a single day in the early 1920s and spilling over with beautiful, precise, often startling detail, the novel gives us a stream-of-consciousness perspective (then a revolutionary narrative technique) of the central character, Clarissa Dalloway, an upper-class, middle-aged wife and mother, who attends to the myriad details for a party she is hosting that evening. Woolf also gives us the thoughts and feelings of other characters, especially Septimus Smith, a decorated soldier irreparably broken by the war; and feckless, repressed Peter Walsh, rejected as a suitor by Clarissa when they were young, and recently returned from service in India.

I love Mrs. Dalloway because, with astonishing skill, Woolf gives me compelling glimpses into the lives of others, suggesting that perhaps everyone merits my close attention and compassion.

—Diane

 

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