by Virginia Woolf
This is my first book by Virginia Woolf. I did not look into what she wrote about. All I knew about her and her work was that she was a well respected British author. This was one of the books that came as a reading assignment for one of my book club groups. Getting into the book started with reading a bit on the author herself. Reading how she was manic depressive and she even committed suicide in 1941. did not give me any warm feelings about this book.
This is a rather short book ( around 150 pages depending on the edition ) written as a stream of consciousness storytelling. I was actually quite surprised how easily I could follow the stream of thoughts and jumps from one character to the next. Main character Mrs Dalloway is the center piece of the story as much a well thought flower arrangement would be on the dinner table of a very important evening. While all characters share a city they live in most are connected trough Mrs Dalloway. The character of Septimus shares an inner struggle with the main character even though they never really met or know each other. The contrast of the two brings out the tragedy and a cautious warning of the story.
Because the stream of thoughts and subjects intertwine and change so often this book needs more of readers attention. While it can be considered short, every word is chosen with care and carries a deeper meaning in the picture of London society after the First World War.
What should be noted with great respect is one of the first times that the topic of post traumatic stress was delivered in a brutally honest and painful way. Also the carefree tone in which characters draw conclusions about the fates and lives of others is well pointed out.
This book extremely affected my mood while I was reading it. I kept returning to melancholy and depressing thoughts. Some of it was due to the PMS but some was the heavy tone of the book. I did not read it in time for the book club meeting and had finished a few days later. It made me think on the differences between Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby as another written work set in the nineteen twenties. Only Fitzgerald had more glitter to it.