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The Years (Annotated) Paperback – June 23, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


 • "Inspired throughout -- a billiant fantasia of all time's problems, age and youth, change and permanence, truth and illusion." --Times Literary Supplement

 • "Lovely though The Waves was, The Years goes far beyond and beyond it -- expressing Woolf's purpose in the novel more richly than it has ever been done before." --New York Times Book Review --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

This first scholarly edition of The Years provides a fully collated and annotated text. It includes a substantial introduction, explanatory notes and detailed textual apparatus tracking Woolf's extensive revisions. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (June 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156034859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156034852
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,249,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Joy Kim on October 7, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
_The Years_ is the story of three generations of the Pargiter family. Stretching from 1880 to the 1920s, it follows the Pargiters through the tumultuous historical events and social changes of that era. Abel Pargiter is a retired civil servant; his daughter Eleanor is interested in social work; his son Edward becomes an academic; his grandson North is a veteran of the Great War. Their interactions and reflections comment upon their experiences in their always changing world.
In my opinion, _The Years_ ranks with as one of Woolf's greatest novels. It shows that Woolf was more than a feminist and more than a stylist--she was also a perceptive critic and observer of her society. She shows the plight of "the daughter of educated men" in a world that denies them education and careers; she shows the effect of the Great War on its survivors. And all the while, she writes her typical lyrical prose she writes about the passage of time: "Slowly wheeling, like the rays of a searchlight, the days, the weeks, the years passed one after another across the sky."
It is interesting to note that Woolf originally planned to write _The Years_ (with _Three Guineas) as a novel-essay called _The Pargiters_. The writing of this novel was extremely difficult, and it is much longer than most of her novels. In some ways it is much less experimental in form than _The Waves_, yet Woolf herself worried that the monologues of _The Waves_ left too much of the external world out--_The Years_ is, in part, an answer to that sentiment.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading Woolf or modern fiction. It probably isn't the best starter novel for Woolf (_Mrs Dalloway_ or _To the Lighthouse_ are better introductions to her style), but it's a beautiful piece of work.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Southern Bard on August 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
If an immortal were to ask me what is is like to be mortal, and live with a family and with time and with age, I would hand him this book, and feel confident that he would get a grasp of our experience. Mrs. Woolf has gathered the dimension of time in this novel through simple passages of conversation that left my heart sinking and rising. What an achievement!

I read this after reading Jacob's Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando, A Room of One's Own, and The Waves. In this novel she was trying to cut her style back, making it more concise, and moving away from experimentation. Yet, she produced a most unique novel.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Gypsi Phillips Bates VINE VOICE on August 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of Woolf's best, if not THE best. It follows a family through decades, showing the changes in them and the changes in the world around them. That stream-of-consciousness style that she is so famous for runs smoothly in The Years, and just flows over the reader. It was hard for me to tear myself away from this book. . . I had to simply shut the book, often in mid-sentance, to make myself stop reading. This comes highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kent Swearingen on April 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If they are going to charge ten bucks for an e-book, they could at least have it proof-read. They obviously didn't - just scanned some print edition and published the result without even looking at it. The software saw the word "the" as "die" about half the time, for instance, so that's what appears in the kindle edition. Too often kindle books are riddled with typos like this. They should either do some quality control, or lower the price.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A. G. Plumb on January 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I refer to the Penguin edition of this book with an introduction and notes by Jeri Johnson.

This is not my favourite Virginia Woolf novel. It is too shapeless for me - perhaps that's what Virginia Woolf was trying to demonstrate - that life is shapeless in its continuation from generation to generation. But to show any meaningful drift to sameness and change I believe we need a much greater perspective than we get from the Pargiters. And when there isn't much direction, much sense of approaching a climax, then, for me anyway, all Virginia Woolf's fine detail and acute observation becomes a tedious reiteration of the ennui of life which I prefer to avoid in literature rather than be reminded of over and over again.

The notes to this novel are quite comprehensive but I was uncommonly annoyed at one point. There is a novel by Philip Dick that I remember reading in which the author explains the correct pronunciation of the main character's name half-way through the novel. Murphy's Law almost guaranteed that I had selected the incorrect pronunciation and had to resound the character's name from that point on. This was a bit annoying. But not half as annoying as when Virginia Woolf tells us that the character North - again half way through the novel - was having his name pronounced incorrectly as if it were a point of the compass. This, of course, is exactly how I pronounced it in my mind. But what other way is there? Neither Virgina Woolf nor Jeri Johnson tell me. I am still mystified.

And perhaps this is the nub of my disenchantment with this novel. Perceptive as the writing might be, I feel an alien in this company, out of my depth amongst a batch of people who know the proper way to pronounce North.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
But Eleanor was standing with her back to them. She was watching a taxi that was gliding slowly round the square. It stopped in front of a house two doors down.

"Aren't they lovely?" said Delia, holding out the flowers.

Eleanor started.

"The roses? Yes..." she said. But she was watching the cab. A young man had got out; he paid the driver. Then a girl in a tweed travelling suit followed him. He fitted his latch-key to the door. "There," Eleanor murmured, as he opened the door and they stood for a moment on the threshold. "There!" she repeated, as the door shut with a little thud behind them.


The sun had risen, and the sky above the houses wore an air of extraordinary beauty, simplicity and peace.


These are the last few lines (with one small omission) of Virginia Woolf's last major novel, THE YEARS, which I find to be at the same time Woolf's most approachable work and also her most original. Were this a normal novel, I would not dream of quoting the closing lines without spoiler alerts. But no spoilers are possible here, because Woolf avoids the normal narrative chain of cause and effect. The couple entering their house in the early morning are people we have not seen before, and probably would not see again even if the book were twice as long. The beauty of the passage is in the moment, one small example of life going on in an entire book about life going on, fleeting moment after fleeting moment.
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