Jesse's Reviews > The Waves

The Waves by Virginia Woolf
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Sep 03, 10

bookshelves: read-in-2010
Read from August 27 to September 03, 2010

I spent a lot of time irritated by the book. I adore Woolf and gave her the benefit of a vast doubt, since I wouldn't have put up with a novel like this from most people and only did so because I know she's a genius, but she very nearly wore me out all the same. The turgidity of the prose at times was overwhelming, larded with lofty passive statements and aphorisms and so on. Much of the time I had to reread sentences or paragraphs or entire pages I'd already read because my mind wandered incessantly, and even on second reading some of it bored me to distraction. About halfway through I considered giving it up but still had enough faith that she'd pull it together. She eventually did: the 40-page soliloquy that ends the book manages to pack in all the brilliance and beauty and insight into living I'd expected from the beginning, and I actually slowed my reading down to better take it all in. So the brilliance is there, though the format didn't, to my ear, do it much of a favour. Leave it to Woolf to pull it off nonetheless.
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