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Night and Day

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  5,887 Ratings  ·  282 Reviews
A long neglected masterpiece, Night and Day reveals Virginia Woolf’s mastery of the traditional English novel. With its classic comic structure, minutely observed characters, and delicate irony, Woolf’s second novel has invited comparison to the works of Shakespeare, Mozart, and Jane Austen.

Set in Edwardian London, Night and Day contrasts the lives of two friends, Katherin
Paperback, 467 pages
Published March 3rd 2005 by Barnes & Noble Classics (first published October 20th 1919)
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Jul 29, 2016 Dolors rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Irreverent victorians
Shelves: read-in-2016
London, Early 20thC. Four characters; two men and two women, estranged by their social status but tightly knotted by the invisible strings of their restrained yearnings feature the storyline of this novel.
More traditional in style and form than Woolf’s later and more exploratory works, Night and Day, as the title implies, juxtaposes the struggles of a younger generation to disengage from the corseted legacy of the Victorian era and to find a place in the shifting tides of impending modernity.
Night and Day indeed!

He: would like to write verses comparing her eyes to the stars.
She: would like to take a compass and a ruler and measure the distance between the stars.
He: believes women can only feel and not reason.
She: believes she must renounce a life of reason to satisfy his feelings.

There are several versions of He and She in this book as if Woolf set out to analyse men and women in general and offer us examples, some very diametrically opposed, as in the example above, and some hardly
Jan 16, 2015 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Woolf Fans (& Everyone Else of Course)
Every now and then, when you think you’re having a busy and difficult week, you come across the book. There is an indescribable feeling you get, once you’ve come into contact with such words blended with adroitness, words which add measure to the beat of human thought through a scheme of scenes. How else does one describe the sensation one gets from a book whose author takes such a conventional story, adds psychological potency through inner thought narrative, and makes one fall in love with the ...more
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
‘There are some books that LIVE’, she mused. ‘They are young with us, and they grow old with us’.

Mrs. Hilbery, of course, is quite right about that. And this was one such book for me, I suspect. At least, I feel now, upon closing it, that it reached the span of my years and, quite unexpectedly, understood me.

The first half was a bit tame to me. There was no narrative to speak of. The characters seemed mere ideas, though with occasional meaningful conversations. This set the scene for the second
Aug 17, 2014 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 19, 2012 Mariel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 22, 2016 Poncho rated it really liked it
Albeit not as ardent, formidable and consuming as her later works (such as To the Lighthouse or The Waves), and not written in her acknowledged stream of consciousness, Night and Day, Virginia Woolf's second novel, set in Edwardian London and published in 1919, comes as a determined stand on feminism and womanhood, written in a rather Victorian style — quite Brontë-ish, in my opinion, though not as furious and romantic as the three sisters — introducing memorable characters that intertwine in an ...more
Melissa Somerton
May 22, 2014 Melissa Somerton rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Oct 22, 2007 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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,
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
From BBC Radio 4 Extra: 4 Extra Debut
Edwardian novel contrasting the daily lives and romantic attachments of two acquaintances, examining love marriage, happiness and success. With Kristin Scott Thomas.

Episode 1/2:
Katherine and Mary are challenged over their assumptions about love, in pre-First World War London.

Episode 2/2:
Katharine is engaged, but her secret admirer is also in Norfolk, invited by torn suffrage campaigner Mary.

1* The Waves
2* Flush
3* Mrs. D
Sarah Porter
Aug 21, 2011 Sarah Porter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 06, 2011 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 19, 2016 Emanuel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Este livro é óptimo no que diz respeito ao génio de Virginia que consegue produzir uma espécie de híbrido de romance clássico e moderno. As frases começam a ser intermináveis e o gosto pelos universos interiores já é notório. Contudo partes da acção principal pediam o génio de uma Emily Brontë, algo que Woolf tenta alcançar e não consegue. A visceralidade e plasticidade sentimental frequentemente perdem-se para uma espécie de novela mexicana de enredo minimalista.
Aug 26, 2015 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, women
Way ahead of its time in its treatment of relationships between women and men.
Aug 17, 2016 Frankie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
“Well, I really don't advise a woman who wants to have things her own way to get married.” (p212) This quote is uttered by Lady Otway, one of the elders in the plot signifying the traditional female point of view. The eponymous night and day contrast signifies many things, but perhaps most readily it signifies the difference between two generations of thought regarding marriage and the woman’s role in society. Other contrasts emerge throughout the plot, including the working class vs. aristocrac ...more
Perry Whitford
Who's afraid of five hundred pages of Virginia Woolf?

Not me. I positively embrace the prospect, so I was really looking forward to getting to grips with her substantial looking second novel, a relatively conventional story about a quartet of young men and women and looking for happiness and, who knows, maybe even love?

Katherine Hilbery is the beautiful daughter of a famous family who revere their ancestors, curating a museum of venerated relics in their own home. She is considered aloof and prac
Apr 26, 2016 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Night and Day – Virginia Woolf’s second novel is a social comedy and a love story but also a subtle examination of women’s roles. The narrative, like that of The Voyage Out – which I read last year – is much more conventional than her later modernist novels To the Lighthouse, and Mrs Dalloway that I read in January. Although a little over four hundred pages it is a novel with a very simple plot – it is however, the complex, changing relationships between the central characters, which give the no ...more
Alex Reborn
Sep 04, 2014 Alex Reborn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 02, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Не так ужасно, как дебютный роман Торнтона Уайлдера)), но -- любовь, чай, размышления, то есть совершенно не формат для аудиокниги (дочитала последние 35% на бумаге с гораздо большим удовольствием, чем слушала середину).

Я, в принципе, очень люблю Вирджинию Вулф, и уже в этом романе можно увидеть зачатки ее будущих волшебных предложений и импрессионистских красок. Больше всего, однако, удручает даже не сомнительная любовная линия, и не вялотекущий сюжет, а то, что, как сказала бы Настя З., "no Mr
Mar 05, 2016 Ben rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
I love Virginia Woolf to bits but heavens this is a laboured constipated affair. It’s as if Woolf is hampered by all the awful corsets and girdles of Victorian custom and simply can’t move freely. I read that Katherine Mansfield gave this novel a scathing review and as a result Woolf seriously began to experiment with new forms for her writing. You could then say that this was her final attempt to conform to the aesthetic tastes of her father’s generation. Thank goodness she burned all those cor ...more
Oct 17, 2015 Cici rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read-books
I Up the point where Cassandra (similar to Rachel in “The Voyage Out” - a “raw unlicked girl”) turned up and even popped out from curtains, the story was a soberly poetic consideration of young people who already have half-baked in their essential forms. Katherine, the aristocratic literary heiress secretly yearning for some line of engagement with the world; Rodney, head full of poetry and play, yet awkward and egoistic to the point of buffoonery; Mary, a Vicar’s daughter working for Suffrage c ...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 about Virginia Woolf...

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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.” 333 likes
“If the best of one's feelings means nothing to the person most concerned in those feelings, what reality is left us?” 37 likes
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