0024 | The Voyage Out – Virginia Woolf

REVIEW:
Woolf’s first novel and the first one I’ve read of hers turned out much as I’d expected. She comes across as a 20th century Eliot, full of erudite wit and wisdom of what the world, and humanity, is all about. I’ll have to read more of her before I form a full opinion though.

This novel reminded me of someone heavily into E.M. Forster trying to mate A Passage to India with A Room with a View so similar were some of the scenarios and the characterisations. But whereas, Forster’s books deal more with the interaction of cultures and the strain this puts on relationships, Woolf focusses entirely on the relationships. The book is populated with some of the most self-obsessed people I’ve ever encountered on my literary journey. There wasn’t one single character I liked or felt an inkling of sympathy for. Nor could I care much what happened to them which took the edge off the major events in the plot.

At times the writing was a bit melodramatic and overindulgent in a way very reminiscent of Eliot’s Middlemarch. So, while the writing was well-crafted on the whole and, for a first novel, very good, I didn’t enjoy it much.

OPENING LINE
As the streets that lead from the Strand to the Embankment are very narrow, it is better not to walk down them arm-in-arm.

QUOTES

She looked foward to seeing them as civilised people generally look forward to the first sight of civilised people, as though they were of the nature of an approaching physical discomfort – a tight shoe or a draughty window.

you’ll form no opinion of the stupidity of mankind until you have sat upon a Borough Council

WORDS
ortolans: brownish bunting often eaten as a delicacy
sententious: abounding in or given to pompous or aphoristic moralizing
teetotum: A small spinning top usually inscribed with letters.
peroration: a flowery and highly rhetorical oration
peremptory: putting an end to all debate or action

CLOSING LINE
Across his eyes passed a procession of objects, black and indistinct, the figures of people picking up their books, their cards, their balls of wool, their work-baskets, and passing him one after another on their way to bed.

RATING:terrible > poor > mediocre > okay > good > very good > excellent > superb

FINISHED:2007 – Apr

  • Dewey April 23, 2007, 9:14 am

    I love Woolf, but I haven’t read this book.

    What is this 1001 books tag? Is there a list somewhere?

    I like how many categories you have. I’m getting ideas from other blogs, and I think the tag cloud and the large number of tags is something I might borrow.

    Reply
  • John April 23, 2007, 11:00 pm

    1001 books… yeah there is a list. You can find it at http://www.listology.com/content_show.cfm/content_id.22845/Books and it’s from this book here http://www.amazon.co.uk/1001-Books-Must-Read-Before/dp/1844034178 which is actually a bit controversial. Until last June, I only read non-fiction because I felt overwhelmed by fiction. Once I found this list, I had a guide. It’s been very good to me since…

    Glad you like the categories… I try to be as broad as I can so I can see the kinds of topics I end up reading…

    Reply
  • Dewey April 24, 2007, 6:52 am

    I have to find the tag cloud widget before broadening my topics, because a list would take up the whole sidebar.

    Thanks for the link to the list!

    Reply
  • Imani May 30, 2007, 1:10 am

    From what I’ve read about Woolf her writing grew increasingly experimental so going through the rest of her oeuvre should be a different experience (although I don’t know how different, until you get to Mrs D).

    Reply

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