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The Waves Paperback – January 1, 1978


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Paperback, January 1, 1978
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The Waves + To the Lighthouse + Mrs. Dalloway
Price for all three: $28.57

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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest/Hbj Book
  • Paperback: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books (1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156949601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156949606
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Full of sensuous touches...the sounds of her words can be velvet on the page -- Maggie Gee Daily Telegraph --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

This edition will be the most extensive and authoritative, the most fully collated, scrupulously researched and explicated text available to scholars to date, and for considerable time to come. Based on the first edition of Woolf's most challenging novel, this volume is an essential purchase for libraries and scholars. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882-1941) was one of the major literary figures of the twentieth century. An admired literary critic, she authored many essays, letters, journals, and short stories in addition to her groundbreaking novels.

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Customer Reviews

This is a very difficult book to read, but well worth it.
Irma Gurman
The contrast in style and outlook between the 6 characters is well defined, but keeps the vibrancy of description and lyrical prose style throughout.
LukeHandsfree
It was the first Woolf book I had read and it blew me away.
Caulfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

179 of 185 people found the following review helpful By Trina T. Brown on November 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was introduced to Virginia Woolf in college when I took an entire class devoted to her work. Although I had never read any of her work before, I quickly became a fan. My professor saved the best for last - The Waves. This book is the most poetic, most profound, most intimate book I have ever read.
No one speaks in this book. You follow the characters' lives from childhood to adulthood by entering their minds and listening to their thoughts. At first it is difficult to figure out what is going on. There is no narration except short poetic passages about the sea and the sun's placement over it preceding each section of the book (and each period of the characters' lives). By the middle of the book, you know who is speaking without reading the name of the character. You know how they think.
I strongly encourage anyone who is even slightly curious to buy this book. This small investment can change how you view the world. The Waves takes much longer to get through than some whodunit, but that's the beauty of it. My husband and I read a passage at night before going to bed. It's best when read slowly, with time to reflect after a small amount of pages. You'll be highlighting sentences that make great quotes as you go. What a glorious book!
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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
Even if you've read other Virigina Woolf, you haven't come close to the experience of The Waves. Did you have to read To the Lighthouse for some class back in college? The Waves seems like a totally different author. Perhaps Jacob's Room comes closer, but still The Wave is unique:
The whole text is entirely soliloquys in the first person. No 3rd person description, no omniscient narrator, just the opening of quotation marks, one of the few characters begins to speak, then the ending of quotation marks... beginning once more with the opening quotation marks for the next speaker's soliloquy, and so on and on in waves of thought.
We follow each speaker from early childhood to old age, and we know them intimately by the book's end. Give the book a chance; at first I could only take three or four *pages* at a time, but also looked forward to these few pages every day. Later, I could easily read more and more, and truly the experience was like "waves" of life, lapping over my consciousness.
If you like unique "novels," e.g. Nabokov's Pale Fire (although different it's unique too), this is a must-have. There's nothing else like it, even in Virginia Woolf's body of work.
If you can't take the full load of first-person consciousness, but like her dreamy style, then go for her book of short stories. But I recommend keeping the book, and treating yourself, a few pages at a time... you too will feel at the end of a magnificent life's journey by time you follow each character's thoughts to the end.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Buzz Advert on June 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
You have never read a book like this. But don't let that intimidate. This is her most experimental work, but it is still much more accesible than many other modernists. Her sentences and paragraphs are intelligible; it's more the accumulation of pages that might begin to baffle some readers. Woolf obviously requires a good deal of concentration, but her best works are rewarding in a way that many difficult writers are not. (You won't need a professor nearby or a mess of annotations to guide you through dense thickets of allusion-filled, abstract prose.)
I consider this to be Woolf's greatest work. Mrs. Dalloway may be a more pleasurable read and more consistently a "masterpiece", but the Waves is often so intense and beautiful that it's devastating. In fact, there are times that one is a bit overwhelmed by the surfeit of emotion, poetic words, unremitting interiority.
My Woolf pix in order: 1. Waves 2. Dalloway 3. Jacob's Room 4. A Room of One's Own 5. Orlando
I personally feel that To the Lighthouse is more of a work to be appreciated than liked--it's simply too refined. And I couldn't make it through Between the Acts--too many upper class English people sitting around a table in the country sipping tea and performing their subtle, boring manners.
Wait, I can't end on a sour note: Woolf is a bloody delight!
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Theresa Graciano on November 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Although at times I consider myself intelligent, after reading "The Waves," I must now concede to being mediocre in my intellect. Upon finishing the novel, I consulted various criticisms and opinions on the work to find that I missed much of what was portrayed in the book. Therefore, I admit to being ignorant. However, I still believe everyone's response to a work is valuable and this is mine:

Just like many other works by Virginia Woolf, there were moments when I was absolutely swept away by the depth of her narrative and the poignancy of her descriptions. Put simply, she blows my mind and this is why I continue to read her. However, I often wonder if the subconscious mind babble that we encounter everyday is worth repeating. Perhaps there is a reason why we have public presentations and filter out much of what we typically are thinking. Therefore, my response to this novel is undecided. Upon finishing the novel, renditions of Shakespeare's "To be or not to be?" ran through my head. I find Woolf's characters and their ambiguous identities and feelings to be confusing and I feel frustrated by their inability to provide me with an answer to the great questions of life. Of course, I realize that life is supposedly more about the questions than the answers and if the goal of good writing it to provoke conversation and thought, Virginia Woolf certainly has done that here. If the purpose of reading is to somehow see ourselves and our struggles reflected in someone else's writing, then Woolf has accomplished that much. Nevertheless, I found the novel to be frustrating in that Woolf provides very little direction or resolution for the reader. I felt as if I was left hanging in so many ways.
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