Monday, October 19, 2015

Mrs. Dalloway | Book Review

Author: Virginia Woolf
Genres: Fiction, Classic
Rating: 5/5

Mrs. Dalloway is a novel by Virginia Woolf that details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional high-society woman in post-World War I England. It is one of Woolf's best-known novels.Created from two short stories, "Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street" and the unfinished "The Prime Minister," the novel addresses Clarissa's preparations for a party she will host that evening. With an interior perspective, the story travels forwards and back in time and in and out of the characters' minds to construct an image of Clarissa's life and of the inter-war social structure. In October 2005, Mrs. Dalloway was included on TIME magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923.


This is the first Woolf’s book that I’ve ever read so, at the beginning, it was a bit hard for me to keep up with her writing style. At first, I felt like she was using a lot of punctuations, but then I noticed that these were essential for the narration.

After being 30 pages in, I began to fly through the pages.

By page 50, my mind was full of questions for Mrs. Dalloway: Was she bisexual? What was her illness? Did she suffer from depression? Why was she so jealous of Lady Bruton inviting Mr. Dalloway for lunch if she didn’t even liked him that much? Was she sterile? (She wasn’t because later on we’re introduced to her daughter) Why didn’t she get married to Peter? Why did she choose Richard instead? Where is Sally now? (She is now Lady Rosseter and has five sons) Is she still in love with her? Etcetera, etcetera.

I really liked the way the POV’s fluctuated: I could be reading from Clarissa’s POV, and then I was reading from Lucrezia’s POV, and then it was Richard the one speaking.

I found Lucrezia and Septimus’ story quite interesting. Lucrezia was a very strong woman, having to take care of her ill husband (did he suffered from PTSD or was he schizophrenic?) and trying to keep him stable, trying to avoid him from taking his own life, pretending everything was alright while, in reality, she was suffering. Also, was Septimus gay? As his and Evans relationship was described, and by the fact that Evans was “undemonstrative in the company of women”, we could imply that they were in love. Plus, Septimus showed repulsion towards heterosexual sex, thus he avoided having sex with his wife.

Another thing I wish to know is: what does Clarissa mean when she says that she failed Richard once in Constantinople? On what did she fail? What did or didn’t she do? Does it have to do with the illness she so much mention?

By the end of the book, some of these questions remained unanswered, whether the answers were not really there or my mind was not too sharp to find them.

When I finished reading this I felt like I just couldn’t put it back on the shelf. I had it on my nightstand, right next to my bed, for over a month. I felt like I needed to keep on reading it when the story was already over… Book hangover, maybe?

Mrs. Dalloway is now one of my all-time favorite books.

Have you read any books by Virginia Woolf? Which one is your favorite?

Lots of Love,

- Salha -

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