Laura's Reviews > The Waves

The Waves by Virginia Woolf
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's review
Feb 07, 2012

it was amazing
Read from February 07 to 08, 2012

Undoubtedly one of the great achievements of 20th century literature.

A work of this scope and ambition takes an author with the discipline and rigour of Virginia Woolf to pull it off – although on top of the rigid structure of its premise, the poetic prose flows freely, decadently, almost indulgently, giving the novel the feel of the uncalculated 'divine inspiration' of the Romantics.

The novel attempts to deal with the individual experience in the context of the forces of society and history, and the extent to which an experience is individual, or subsumed in the lives of those around us.

The way in which language defines us is brought out throughout he different character’s soliloquys, as well as connections forged between characters through shared imagery and motifs. In between monologues, repeated descriptions of nature, tides, day break and sunset punctuate the novel, which attempts to recreate the rhythm and flow of life.

At times a tough read, but generally pretty absorbing, often illuminating and ultimately touching.

*Note on the edition - my enjoyment was somewhat spoiled by the Editor's largely unneccesary end notes; interrupting the flow of the text to tell the reader what Worcester Sauce is, where Oxford Street is, and who some of the most renowned authors in the world are. A real shame, as the odd note was genuinely illuminating.
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