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Showing 1-10 of 225 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 441 reviews
on April 25, 2015
How can such ordinary mental trifles of urban and modern Western civilization be so interesting and revealing when spotlighted by a genius author? Why do I continue to be fascinated by the ordinary and sometimes extraordinary relationship dramas preceding a shock of a self-revelation, or a sudden recognition of another's folly which delusion or willful blindness had hidden from awareness?

Every character in 'Mrs. Dalloway' appears to be in much turmoil over domestic concerns and their overarching urban society, and their place in their small acre of social Earth. They are seemingly temporarily distracted and heartened by beauty, only to be swept away repeatedly by nagging interior fears, anxieties, shames - social duties vs. doing something that matters, pursuing being 'in love' vs. comfortable stability, having a simple nature (which seems to represent a sedated obliviousness) vs. a complex nature (which seems to mean having a nervous sensitivity people are cautioned to control by whatever means they have - family, duty, rituals, religion, parties). Woolf's characters are so frustrated, unhappy or uncertain with their choices or conduct, or upset about the decisions of others, I wanted to step in and tell them the issue was not as huge as they felt (except Septimus who, I think, has lost all ability and resources for self-control - not his fault). However, as we all know, it is easy to diagnose the solutions or wonder at the worry of other people; not so easy when actually the person living behind the eyes!

Circumstances definitely trap us into lives we uneasily embrace. Problems overwhelm real joy, so people settle for a mask of joy. People can protest, but protest is often a pyretic option, as poor Septimus thoughts show. (He cannot accept the horrors of war he remembers, so he is conducting an interior struggle to reject reality - the worst response, and unfortunately involuntary because of traumatic war events.)

'Mind' is functionally solipsistic, despite any fact of social community or reality. It is a sad thing. Was this the point of the novel? I don't know, but it's my conclusion about the insularity revealed by the characters in Woolf's stream-of-consciousness representation in this novel.

Some reviewers saw, as I did, that Virginia Woolf's underlying theme, because of the era she lived, of exploring how thinking, although maneuvering over and managing the usual unruly desires and needs of life, was starting to spin off course from the old usual rutted paths in a post-WWI British world. The Vietnam War was also an American social earthquake. The same disturbances of truisms, tropes, customs and beliefs occurred here as a result. I lived through it, and I still come up snarling over certain perceived injustices or mores which used to be either ignored or papered over by traditions and customs. I see no difference in how WWI is beginning to subtly undermine the certainties of English society as the characters reveal their startled doubts and sudden new patterns of judgement in 'Mrs. Dalloway' and in how the Vietnam War affected American society in the 1970's. The upheavals in politics, social classes, religion and expectations of a predictability to the 'permanent' Universe are the same.

Not everyone will be as admiring as I and many other readers are when they read this book. It is an experimental (and a very successful one, polished and mostly complete) Modernist genre, utilizing a stream-of-consciousness architecture. It is one of the most accessible of its kind, which has been noted in other reviews, and I agree. I could find some resonances between myself and the characters, which isn't always true when the literary requirements are that the characters be written to serve more as symbols than they are expected to be fleshed out.

I will be re-reading this novel again in the future. It is a keeper.
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on December 27, 2015
This book by Virginia Woolf has been described as the greatest English language novel. That may not be hyperbole. Some sentences are so beautifully written that they beg to be read again (and again). The story is simple: It follows one day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares to host a high-society party in London that evening. It jumps from Clarissa's story to that of several of the guests. It's a story about their thoughts and reminisces more than their actions. It's a story about the love between men and women and women and women. It's a story about the politics of marriage in the early 20th century. It's a classic!
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on January 3, 2017
I found Mrs. Dalloway a challenging book to read, and probably best read with a class or reading group. There is a lot of personalities and themes to pick up. Woolf's style is challenging, particularly the lack of chapters or subtle breaks in settings and characters.

What I appreciated is the beautiful language and use of alliteration. I picked Mrs. Dalloway because of recommendations after reading The Hours by Michael Cunningham.
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on March 5, 2016
This is a classic stream-of-consciousness book. I recommend setting aside chunks of time, 1-2hrs at a time, to read this so you can absorb the thoughts of each character better. It's a short book, but I wouldn't call it necessarily a quick read. It's a thought-provoking piece.
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on September 18, 2016
I loved the movie 'the hours' so I wanted to read this book which I have heard so many times. Honestly I found it hard to concentrate. Too much long paragraphs of internal psychological journeys. I can't say that I've enjoyed it.
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on August 22, 2016
I think this is one of the best novels ever.

Virginia Woolf is like a bee going from flower to flower, resting on them, and describing a marvellous arabesque of one day in Westminster that ends at a party held at Mrs. Dalloway house in the evening.

Gorgeous.
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on January 15, 2017
A TRUE CLASSIC. This is the Wolfe book referenced all throughout the film, "The Hours", starring Nicole Kidman as Virginia. This is an iconic piece of literature and is a wonderful read, though dark, as one would expect. Shipping was very fast and the book arrived in perfect condition.
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on November 3, 2016
Woolf's switching off from the thoughts of one character to the thoughts of another is so unique that it takes getting used to, yet it is quite effective and her writing often veers into sublimity.
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on August 12, 2017
die hard book nut here just had to read the one classic I think I'd missed in my 60 years of reading, this was one of the toughest reads to get through, I never quit on a book, maybe 3 in my liffe, but this I wanted to burn lol NO I did not finish it. Anyone who says to read it, I feel may be a masochist.
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on October 4, 2013
In this book, Virginia Woolf invites the reader into the lives, thoughts and feelings of many remarkable characters who happen to be very humane and vivid. The insightful way it describes and plunges into the passions of the characters makes it totally worthy of being read. Some people could find certain passages slow, outdated or over sentimental, but they reflect the reality of its time in a very good way, including feelings and reflections one can still relate to nowadays.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story with round and believable characters who think and feel. This is not a book for the action lovers, but for those who enjoy thinking, imagining and asking questions about human relationships.
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