Mrs. Dalloway, perhaps Virginia Woolf’s greatest novel, follows English socialite Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party in post-World War I London. Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening (American Beauty, The Kids Are All Right) performs Woolf’s stream-of-consciousness style of storytelling brilliantly, exploring the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman’s life.
When we first meet Clarissa Dalloway, she is preoccupied with the last-minute minutiae of party-planning while being flooded with memories of long ago. Clarissa then examines the realities of the present as the story travels forwards and back in time and in and out of different characters’ minds.
Mrs. Dalloway is daring not only in its stream-of-consciousness form, but also in its content. Woolf’s depiction of Septimus Warren Smith brings to light the ugly and often ignored truth of how the brutality of war can drive men mad. We also get to see in depth how our main protagonist, Clarissa Dalloway, suffers from her own form of psychological damage: the more subtle, everyday oppression of English society.
Mrs. Dalloway is part of Audible’s A-List Collection, featuring the world’s most celebrated actors narrating distinguished works of literature that each star helped select. For more great books performed by Hollywood’s finest, click here.
©1925 The Estate of Virginia Woolf (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
“Bening's work here is fine…her tone offers its characteristic grace…both this narrator and this novelist offer tremendous gifts.” (AudioFile)
It's hard to concentrate when it seems that the reader -- Bening - isn't. Her reading is amateurish -- surprising -- and one feels she is not "present.' Her voice is pleasant enough, but that's not enough. She's supposed to be an actress.
First off, Annette Bening is excellent. I just did not at all get into this story. I wanted some big revelation at the end of this novel. Maybe there was one, but it just fell flat for me. Life in this book is so boring and tedious. There is much thinking of when life was not boring and tedious, but I just find it depressing. Probably like real life! Worth the listen for Ms. Bening's performance, probably great if you love the novel.
This is an interesting little introduction. It's just a shame that she never got around to actually writing the book. As it is, this is deeply unsatisfying - just a snippet.
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