What has happened to me? I started this book extremely annoyed and ended up liking it. Why? Why? Why? I don't quite know. I have to think........
By thWhat has happened to me? I started this book extremely annoyed and ended up liking it. Why? Why? Why? I don't quite know. I have to think........
By the book's end I know the central characters. Who are they? Let me start here. The book follows three women. First there is Virginia Woolf. She is recovering from headaches, terrible headaches. She is and was manic-depressive. The date of this thread is 1923 and Virginia is cared for, watched over or you might say even repressively ordered around by her dear husband who is doing all he can to help her recover. They live outside London, in the suburb Richmond. She is planning / contemplating her next novel: Mrs. Dalloway. Then there is Clarissa in modern day NYC. She is lesbian, living with Sally, but at the same time she always loved Richard, coupled with Louis, dying of AIDS. The third thread follows Laura Brown, living in Los Angeles after the Second World War, 1949. She is happily married with a considerate husband and a devoted child of three. But IS everything so hunky-dory? You flip between these three threads, which is confusing until you begin to know the different characters and places and so can immediately place where you are. There are other confusing elements. Clarissa is in fact called Mrs. Dalloway by Richard. As you proceed you recognize that different sections are entitled with one of the women's names. This is probably harder on the audiobook than in the written book.
All three threads are interconnected. All three threads depict a woman trying to escape. All three threads are about women trying to figure out how exactly they want to live their lives. All three threads are about feminism and homosexuality and suicide and death. They are all the events of just one single day, and that is also how Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf's book, is written. So you start thinking... You start comparing. Do you know Mrs. Dalloway was originally written with the ending that she committed suicide, but not in the published book!
I am sometimes uncomfortable reading lgtb literature. Is that so strange? I am heterosexual. I am glad I read this book. I just want to be upfront about this. Others may worry about this aspect too.
Here is why my view on the book changed. By the book's end I KNEW all of the central characters. I could relate to them. They felt real. I could understand what they did and why. Virginia Woolf was portrayed in such a manner that I felt Cunningham stuck to her real character and made her emotions and feelings and thoughts and ambivalences more clear. She felt genuine, not fictive. I learned more about her through reading this book. Laura, she was consistent. Different, but just as genuine. I even warmed to Clarissa who for me, by the book's end wonderfully exhibited the inner strength of women. Men and women have different strengths.
I liked this book. It kept me thinking.
It wasn’t until the end that I realized my view had changed, from negative to positive. I am terribly impressed by the author’s ability to tie together the different threads. At the same time I am not quite sure if that is a plus or a minus; should a book be so neatly constructed? Life isn’t so neat.
I still prefer Virginia Woolf’s writing to Michael Cunningham’s. …and I kind of think he stole her book! In a way. Sort of. Or you can reason he created something new from her original idea.
Even my view of the author's own narration of the audiobook changed. His tone in Clarissa's thread wonderfully captures the gay world of NYC. The language used in the different threads is modified. That is good; people do not express themselves today as one did in 1949 or 1923. You don't hear a difference in the narrative tone though, and this could be considered a weakness.
Who would have known that a book that started so badly for me would turn out so good?!
After two and 1/2 hours of a 6 hour and 15 minute long audiobook:
Does it have to be so hard to understand the story? I want a story, not a puzzle. I don't like being confused. I have even given up taking notes.
I will continue but boy, I certainly hope this improves.
AND authors are not often capable of narrating their own books. Get someone trained for the task.
This book has put me in a horrible mood. What? Am I nuts? It won a Pulitzer.