Night and Day
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Night and Day

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  4,319 ratings  ·  190 reviews
Katharine Hilbery is beautiful and privileged, but uncertain of her future. She must choose between becoming engaged to the oddly prosaic poet William Rodney, and her dangerous attraction to the passionate Ralph Denham. As she struggles to decide, the lives of two other women - women's rights activist Mary Datchet and Katharine's mother, Margaret, struggling to weave toget...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Penguin Classics (first published October 20th 1919)
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Community Reviews

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Petra X
(With apologies to Cole Porter)

Night and day you are the one
Only you beneath the moon or under the sun
Whether near to me or far it's no matter I struggle to get through you.
By my bedside, in the kitchen
I'm reading you
Day and night, night and day.

Why is it so that this determination to finish you
Nags at me where ever I go
In the roaring traffic's boom, in the silence of my lonely room
I'm gritting my teeth and pressing on with you
Night and day, day and night.

Under the duvet, next to the hob, pulled...more
Joseph
You love her but she loves him
He loves someone else, you just can't win

J Geils Band, Love Stinks

Night and Day by Virginia Woolf is her second novel and was published in 1919. The story takes place in pre-war England and involves four characters and their relationships. Kathryn Hillbery the "middle class" privileged girl. Ralph Denham the "middle class" lawyer who supports his whole family. William Rodney the mediocre poet and the suffragette, Mary round out the main characters. Also in the mix i...more
Mariel
Dec 19, 2012 Mariel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: my every little step set in a star
Recommended to Mariel by: smother me in wild discovery
Something about the truth was in it; how to see the truth is our great chance in this world.


The morning that I finished reading Night and Day I "wrote" a review out loud to my sister. It was better than anything I will ever write on goodreads because it doesn't die when I lose myself. It will be okay because I can make it alive again when something else happens to remind me. It was really a continuation of a conversation we have been having for a long time. We can pick up the thread out of the b...more
Melissa Somerton
May 22, 2014 Melissa Somerton rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Introverts of the world
I just feel so strongly that this novel is highly underated. I am a huge, HUGE Virginia Woolf fan and I love her later work, but I hold a special place for this novel. Straight forward and less cutting edge than her more popular works, but still beautifully crafted. Night and Day explores the inner workings of 4 characters as they try to understand the nature of their relations to others and the clash between the desires of the inner mind and the desire to fit in and do right.

At first glance it...more
Jennifer
Oct 22, 2007 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: romantic neurotics
at first i loved this book--it's crystal clear insight into the heads of 4 different people who are alternatingly in and out of love with each other, and who continuously misunderstand each other. a brain-y 'friends' (don't kill me literati.) also illustrating our fundamental alienation and how we are continuously misreading one another. and lots of good writing.

it's good to read in small bits, and i found myself really identifying with different characters at different times. haha, which now i...more
pearl
Not what I expected at all--which was "Yay! More Mrs. Dalloway!" I should have known better, because this is very early Woolf, and stylistically it is quite different (a straightforward narrative in a "classic comic structure").

Now, I have gripes about this book, but they are hard to explain. It is well-written and beautiful, but I felt a distinct lack of empathy for the main character Katharine, whom I had wanted so much to like. Her personality and circumstances should have resonated with me,...more
Kristin
This book is a more sociopolitical and also existential version of a Jane Austen novel - a comedy of manners on the surface that in fact explores deeper issues about human relationships and existence. Things are changing during this period in English history, and the old and the new are seen in direct conflict not just between separate individuals but also within singular individuals themselves. Katharine Hilbery is among the latter. She's practical and cynical, but also dreamy and bored and hop...more
Yvette
I'm going to have a lot of haters after this review.

Yes, yes, it's a Virginia Woolf Classic - got that! Yes, she is a literary goddess and her writing is beautiful. That is not in debate here. HOWEVER, this book kinda sucked! It made me want to crawl out of my skin at times. It dragged. Many times I said, "Enough already!" I know that at times the dragging on was suppose to be comical, but it wasn't funny to me. Maybe as a play I would be able to appreciate the comical aspects, but not as a wor...more
Ann
This book is about love and marriage - how relationships are affected by social mores and perceived obligations. Woolf also asks the bigger questions: What is love? What constitutes marriage? What is necessary for marital happiness? Is marriage necessary for happiness? What is happiness?

These are the questions facing Katherine Hilbery, who has been a willing, but bored, drudge, helping her mother with the task of researching her worthy grandfather, a well-known poet and family icon. These are qu...more
Sarah Porter
Seriously underrated. This book is totally amazing; I don't think it should be classed as a minor Woolf novel at all. It's true that the really astonishing stuff mostly kicks in in the second half, but you need the contrast provided by the relatively prosaic first half to make it work; and it's true that there are a couple of weird narrative glitches that suggest inadequate editing (roses growing in England at Christmas, and that Katherine knows nothing about Ralph's family after a long scene wh...more
Jacob
Jul 11, 2014 Jacob marked it as to-finish-later
Setting this aside for now. Night and Day isn't bad, really--it's just not To the Lighthouse or The Waves or Mrs Dalloway or her diaries or any of the other Woolfbooks I would rather read (or reread, in Mrs. D's case) at the moment. I liked The Voyage Out, but if I hadn't already read some of Virginia Woolf's later novels before embarking on a chronological reading of Virginia Woolf's work from the beginning, I would probably just stop here entirely instead of skipping over it to the next one. I...more
Jaye Viner
Surprisingly relevant and a joy to read if not slowly and with lots of breaks in between.

What I enjoyed most is also the part of Woolf that I have avoided: her feminism a la A Room of One's Own. The undercurrent of political movements and striving for what at the time seemed an unreachable goal, the women's right to vote, as shown through the character of Mary Datchet, was one that a year ago if I had read it would only have been interested in the historic aspects of someone having lived throug...more
Lavinia
The book focuses on the British bourgeoisie with its specific stereotypes and the contrasting relationship between two friends. Of course the book is very introspective and the connections between the characters very complicated. Somehow I found this book to have similarities with Pride and Prejudice, through its theme and the characters’ strength.

***
noapte si zi e al doilea roman al virginiei woolf si al patrulea pe care-l incerc eu. mi-au placut mult 'mrs. dalloway' si "spre far, dar m-am chin...more
Brenden O'Donnell
Upon starting my project of reading _The Voyage Out_ and _Night and Day_, I expected to get semi-Victorian style, straightforward novels that are not particularly spectacular. But the style seems to overshadow the oddness of what takes place in these novels. _Night and Day_ focuses on five young people whose romantic narratives are tangled up with one another. Each coupling misfires in one way or another, and as an alternative they seem to satisfy themselves with peculiar, needlessly shame-ridde...more
Linda
I think this is easily the most underrated of Woolf's novels. It gets nowhere near the acclaim (or cinematic adaptation) of To the Lighthouse, Orlando, Mrs. Dalloway, etc. But it is SO GOOD. My favorite of hers remains Jacob's Room, but this one is an extremely close second. The simplicity of the plot belies the complexity of the story. People fall in love and remain in love through the obstacles in the way of them getting together Oh, the richness of the observations, of the lives, of the Engli...more
Alex
So many times I felt tempted to put it down, give it up and just go on to something more enjoyable! These harsh words come from the fact that the pace of the book was really slow, the action was unidentifiable and the characters just couldn't make up their minds. I'm still a bit frustrated that I spent so much time on it, but after much consideration, I did find something interesting here...

There's a lot of insight on the characters thoughts, but I had to dig really deep to begin to understand w...more
Casey
This book seemed endless and it took me so long to read. I assume Woolf was attempting to write a story about finding your true love, rather than marrying who seems appropriate, and sticking it to traditional gender and class norms, yet Night and Day was a bore.

Katherine was unlikable. I has thought she might team up with Mary Datchet and put her mathematical brain to some use in the suffrage movement. However, all Katherine does is internally whine and bemoan her life and does nothing to change...more
Margot
I feel a bit fuzzy now that I have finished this book. It's like watching a whirling dervish for hours and hours. You're kind of intoxicated and drunk... and a bit lost too. Sometimes, Katherine reminded me of Mrs. Dalloway but most of all I could not help myself thinking of lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey while I was reading the book. Katherine is my favorite character because in my opinion she is the only one - well, with Mary Datchet actually- to properly go through a journey throughout...more
Cristina
While I don’t consider myself an expert on Woolf, we go way back. I first read her on my first year of university (a painful decade ago) and ever since I have considered her to be one of the few authors that are able to surprise me with every single new sentence. One of those authors that will inevitably speak to me in every single idea, word or meaning conveyed. I haven’t read all of her works because I don’t want to be thirty and have read all of her novels, I want to be able to reach middle a...more
Jessica
Night and Day is so different from the other Woolf novels I've read and love that it's hard to say what is distinctive about the novel other than that difference. What has been on my mind about it, though, has been that (having recently read and found this out in the Hermione Lee bio) the criticism surrounding the novel, both contemporary and later, seems to focus on the Edwardian-ness of the novel--and I couldn't disagree more. Maybe because I haven't read enough Edwardian novels. But I would s...more
Evan
Jan 04, 2008 Evan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone contemplating marriage
One could easily say that if Woolf had written no more books after VO and Night and Day that she would not have the stature she currently enjoys. That admitted, reading Night and Day is a little like looking at paintings from Picasso's brief period of figural realism. As in VO, Woolf's eye to dissecting the moments of human equivocation is already stunning here, and there are flashes of the poetic sensibility that suddenly appears "fully formed" in her next novel, Jacob's Room. Moonlight and man...more
russell barnes
Apr 16, 2011 russell barnes rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to russell by: Lucy
For some reason, the spring always makes me want to read Virginia Woolf, possibly because many of her novels are set there, and feel bright and clear. Night and Day is no different, although it's also an amazingly warm love story, which I didn't expect, and a brilliant London novel.

Her second work, there are only hints of the stream-of-consciousness style she later developed, and where they do appear the connection between strands of thoughts is incongruously clunky, instead there's a clarity to...more
James
This early novel from Virginia Woolf is superficially a romantic comedy in the classic "Austen" mode. However, Woolf broaches issues of her time such as the liberation of women and the philosophy of G. E. Moore. Moore, popular with the Bloomsbury crowd, was noted for his 'Principia Ethica' which turned the question of morality from what ought to be done to what is good. With the confusion of sexual revolution and class warfare mixed in with the traditional comedic use of misunderstandings this b...more
Sherry Chandler
In a letter to Violet Dickenson dated January 4, 1920, Virginia Woolf writes:

I've just been told that Kitty Maxse thinks N. and D. the dullest book she's' ever read; but then you know—my opinion of Kitty Maxse—I never succeeded with Kitty.


I must admit that for the first half of this book I tended to agree with Kitty. The characters just all seemed to dither on and on in their misery of intertwined love triangles. The book seemed sort of like Katherine Hillbury's mother, always writing odd pages...more
Rebecka
Talk about complicating things unnecessarily. I had no idea Virginia Woolf's writing was so odd and painstakingly detailed, and I guess there is perhaps a reason why I hadn't actually ever heard of this book before I found the free audiobook.
Monique
Not all Woolf's books are works of genius. This novel remains stuck in a pre-modern style. It is overly exacting and precise about its characters and excessively descriptive. I was wondering if it is it in fact a parody?

Although it is nowhere near as good as some of her more famous novels, the characters and scenes are nonetheless vivid and entertaining. It has some beautiful passages and philosophical reflections on life and love. In particular Woolf addresses the difficulty of writing or talk...more
Jennie
Woolf is really my everything. I need to reread this immediately. Everything I've been thinking & feeling about love / relationships recently Woolf has captured perfectly here. V. important book to me.
Josefine
Though this is, in many ways, quite different to Virginia's later works, I adored the subtle characterization and the language which was, as always, so very beautiful. Plot wise it's a fairly simple love story, but Virginia's words just make it transcend such easy categorization.
David Cain
Virginia Woolf has no equal, and this early novel is no exception. N&D is an incredible cross between a novel of manners and the modernism that VW was creating. Incredible poetry, Delightful plots and characters, endlessly intelligent, there are few better novels to be read.
Cullen Brown
If anyone looks through my recent reviews, they might be surprised to find that I rank Night and Day higher than Jacob's Room. To be fair, the difference between both novels is like night and day (haha), but both novels include an introduction in which a scholar claims that this is the novel where Virginia Woolf "finds her voice." And, I'm sure when I read The Voyage Out, another scholar will claim much the same. But I think both scholars are on to something, but I don't think Virginia Woolf fou...more
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(Adeline) Virginia Woolf was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century.

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length es...more
More about Virginia Woolf...
Mrs. Dalloway To the Lighthouse A Room of One's Own Orlando The Waves

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“I see you everywhere, in the stars, in the river, to me you're everything that exists; the reality of everything.” 222 likes
“If the best of one's feelings means nothing to the person most concerned in those feelings, what reality is left us?” 30 likes
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