Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Waves

The WavesThe Waves by Virginia Woolf
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This plot-less exploration of lifetime friendships and the fluidity of the characters from childhood to old age offers a deeply involving if difficult reading experience. Woolf's lyrical writing and colors, nature, animals, meals, made it worthwhile and it's best to let The Waves wash over the reader without trying too hard to parse meaning. Play-like, Woolf Virginia takes on identity, mortality, and friendship: in six characters who are perhaps one character based on the author. Bernard, the writer with his phrases, is our anchor, and Louis, is "stone-carved, sculpturesque; Neville, scissor-cutting, exact; Susan with eyes like lumps of crystal; Jinny dancing like a flame, febrile, hot, over dry earth; and Rhoda the nymph of the fountain always wet." The bonds and points of view shift in the soliloquies. There is no dialogue.
I think one of the most enjoyable reviews is Fionnuala's
I want to read more Woolf, this is said to be the most challenging of her books.

"I felt leap up that old impulse, which has moved me all my life, to be thrown up and down on the roar of other people's voices, singing the same song; to be tossed up and down on the roar of almost senseless merriment, sentiment, triumph, desire."

"Some people go to priests, others to poetry; I to my friends, I to my own heart, I to seek among phrases and fragments something unbroken--I to whom there is not beauty enough in moon or tree; to whom the touch of one person with another is all, yet who cannot grasp even that, who am so imperfect, so weak, so unspeakably lonely. There I sat."

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