Cristina's Reviews > Orlando

Orlando by Virginia Woolf
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's review
Oct 06, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: british_anglophone_modernism
Read in October, 2007

I could not put down Virginia Woolf's Orlando--simply and intoxicatingly brilliant, playful, and poetic! Written with the cheeky humor reminiscent of Chaucer and his The Canterbury Tales and diving into something akin to a Monty Python skit, Woolf's "biography" tells the story of a young, noble, Elizabethan-era man who moves progressively through time about four-hundred years (although only aging about twenty years), straight up until 1928, the year Woolf's novel was published. If this doesn't sound outrageous enough (especially since this is a so-called "biography"), the most surprising element is that Orlando, half-way through the novel, falls asleep and wakes up. . .a woman! Based partially on Woolf's own lesbian affair, Orlando offers commentary on life, love, and literature, as well as the connection between men and women; fashion and consumerism; industrialization; nature and urbanization; family, home, society, and the self, among many other things. Fast-paced, absurd at times, dry, dark in humor, and narrated by an "obnoxious" biographer whose love of words often reads like a cliche romance novel (and worse--this is giving Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto a run for its money at times), one cannot help laughing at and enjoying a work that is complex in meaning yet simple in style. In short--a real treat! And it's hard not to love Orlando, male or female, young or old.
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Ally The brand new group - Bright Young Things - is nominating books to read in January & Orlando is among them. Its the perfect place to discuss your favourite books and authors from the early 20th Century, why not take a look...

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