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Orlando: A Biography Paperback – October 24, 1973
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"The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game. Pre-order today
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In 1928, way before everyone else was talking about gender-bending and way, way before the terrific movie with Tilda Swinton, Virginia Woolf wrote her comic masterpiece, a fantastic, fanciful love letter disguised as a biography, to Vita Sackville-West. Orlando enters the book as an Elizabethan nobleman and leaves the book three centuries and one change of gender later as a liberated woman of the 1920s. Along the way this most rambunctious of Woolf's characters engages in sword fights, trades barbs with 18th century wits, has a baby, and drives a car. This is a deliriously written, breathless-making book and a classic both of lesbian literature and the Western canon.
'Together these ten volumes make an attractive and reasonably priced (the volumes vary between L3.99 and L4.99) working edition of Virginia Woolf's best-known writing. One can only hope that their success will prompt World's Classics to add her other essays to the series in due course.'
Elisabeth Jay, Westminster College, Oxford, Review of English Studies, Volume XLV, No. 178, May '94 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
I like that the author quite obviously adores the main character, somehow that makes it very personal and lovely to read, but at the same time her portrayal of that character seems quite flat - nothing truly bad or negative happens or is described - yet somehow Orlando seems to grow as a character without much in the way of struggles. I like the way the author plays with time and gender and social norms quite a bit. The florid, romantic, stream-of-consciousness writing style did get horribly old in places, but just when I was ready to put the book down, she'd make fun of herself for writing that way. So much so, the author was almost her own character in the book, which I quite liked. But at the same time, a lot of the book I just didn't get anything from, because of the style maybe (I read and understood the words but they held no meaning on any level for me). I went back and reread a couple sections to make sure I wasn't just sleepy or distracted, and sometimes that was the case, but usually there just wasn't anything in that section for me. Maybe those were the more personal portions of the love-letter that, since I wasn't Woolf or her GF, I couldn't understand.
I'm glad I read it, I've already recommended it to others (with the caveats above), but I might have to read more Woolf to sort out better how I feel about this book.
To say I was surprised by Orlando is an understatment. The concept, the style and prose was for this reader an eye opener. Prose that I could fall into and savour.
I'm rating it highly because of it's uniqueness and it is a book that you can not be ambivalent about. To me that is what reading is all about.
To describe accurately the premise of the novel would require mentioning the politically incorrect term of "gender confusion". Making the novel these days undiscussable. All the most descriptive things in life now are.
This is an odd, interesting story. It was fascinating when Orlando starts to see all the ways it is different to be a man and a woman in his (her) culture. How, really, the primary purpose of women, is to live for men. There are some interesting takes, too, on transgender. (And not just with the main character.)
I thought the fantasy of the story was interesting, especially for the time it was written. Woolf is an intriguing writer. Though I did think the story a bit slow at times.