Sarah's Reviews > A Haunted House and Other Short Stories

A Haunted House and Other Short Stories by Virginia Woolf
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Mar 07, 10

bookshelves: prose-poetry

I'm not sure the short story format really suits Virginia's style. These aren't so much compact, little stories as they are iridescent fragments of stories. I get the impression she was more interested in questions than she was in answers and only ever gave a concluding thought because she had to. Her prose here is exquisite, as always.

(If anyone can explain The Shooting Party or The Searchlight to me, please do!)
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message 1: by Jesse (new)

Jesse I agree completely--Virginia's style demands a much larger scale so that the all the associations she makes are able to builds up connections and contexts. I like the short stories--though I admittedly haven't read too many--for what they are, but they always strike me more as beautifully rendered impressions (or "iridescent fragments," I like that a lot) more than complete narratives per se.


Sarah D'oh! I should've used the word "narrative"...

Yes, I agree. I was really conflicted as to whether I should subtract a star or not. I kept going back to, It's a different approach, but what's wrong with that? In the end, I had to go with my personal feeling, which is, the stories felt a little stilted. Virginia needs more room than the format allows. Still, they're lovely, thought provoking pieces. I very much enjoyed them.


message 3: by Jesse (new)

Jesse Story, narrative--either works (I'm just so conditioned to write "narrative").

I keep debating whether or not I should drop my star ratings, as I'm less and less happy with them, so much so that they often seem meaningless, especially when I have a conflicted reaction (as you seem to have had in this situation). Personally, VW's short stories generally seem to be experiments, but necessary ones--would we would have gotten her novels if she hadn't worked out so many of her ideas in the short story format?


Sarah I loved Kew Gardens, though I'd probably appreciate it more if I'd ever been there. My favorites were An Unwritten Novel and the stories about Mrs. Dalloway's party, particularly The New Dress. Sadly, I can relate to that one!


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