Preoccupied with last minute details of party preparation, Clarissa Dalloway's mind is flooded with blissful memories of her youth and of her past loves. With thoughts turning to the present, she reexamines the solid reasons behind her practical marriage, then on to the future, with hesitant thoughts of growing old.
©1925 The Estate of Virginia Woolf; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC.
"[Mrs. Dalloway] is one of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the 20th century". (Michael Cunningham)
On first listening to this performance, I found it confusing. But when I tried again, I "got it". This is a most beautiful book and this narrator performs superbly: a perfect match. Her voice sounds like one of the characters about which Virginia Woolf is writing. She just belongs with the atmosphere and type of life being described. If you find this a difficult book, give it another try as it is well worth it. For some reason, this book and its ambience have stayed with me for many months and I think about it often. I am going to listen to it again as the language and narration are like music. Virginia Woolf is a magic writer who conveys her thoughts with acute elegance and depth without heaviness.
She writes with a translucent style that is unlike any writer I have encountered. She creates a vivid sense of place and character with seeming effortlessness. This is a sheer delight as the writer weaves her complex and piercing thoughts with a filigree touch. She conveys much with her poetic precision of language. A marvellous book and divine narration.
Thank-you for providing this book and its insights to me. Thoroughly loved it after first hating it.
Virginia Leishman is a marvel. I've read this novel several times, could quote passages from memory (and this is a perfect novel, but Virginia Woolf is not a casual read; she's the sort of writer you read if you're fascinated with the nature of time, with depictions of consciousness, with expanding your sense of the novels capacity to explore the interior of the human heart). Leishman adds emotional nuance to every line she reads, giving it the feel of lively stage performance, as if the book were being read again for the first time. Like Proust's In Search of Lost Time, this is a book to be read first, and then listened to. But each encounter is a delight.
I felt the need to listen to this book because Virginia Woolf is such an important literary figure. It identified to me what type of "reader" I am. And I guess I do not fall into her (Woolf's) category of readers.
This is the type of book that would benefit from an English Literature course or book club discussion. By itself, I got little out of it. Once identified, plots are obvious to me but I cannot find them easily myself.
Woolf's style of writing kind of rambles on. It is a stream-of-consciousness that makes it difficult to follow when listening. I found myself rewinding a lot to be sure I transitioned correctly to the next caracter. It would be much easier reading this type of writing.
The narration was well done.
Everything was fine, but the whole product just didn't send me anywhere. I had a similar feeling with Carson McCuller's The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter. I guess these stories are just not my cup of tea.
I love Virginia Woolf. I didn't love this book. I saw the movie, which prompted me to read it and I was disappointed in the final outcome. That is not to say it is not meticulously written, edited and presented... it is all of those things. I just really had a hard time staying with it... the back and forth of the timelines, the jumping from each character to the next... these were frustrating and not assuaged when pulled together at the end. If you love Virginia, by all means listen to it, but when you're done, sign up for the Netflix copy of the film.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
I really want to like Virginia Woolf. She's so highly regarded. Her books are so famous. What's that saying about a classic being a book everyone admires and nobody reads? What's not so clear is if Woolf would have the reputation she does if not for the Bloomsbury Group, her own peculiar relations with her extended family, and the fact that she killed herself. At a minimum, she is a window onto her own times and social class. And there's also the fact that The Hours owes so much to this book. It would probably help if I shared Woolf's sensibilities about the world. In that case, so many of her assumptions about what certain kinds of people and certain kinds of actions would be so much more meaningful to me. But instead, I have to keep jerking to a halt and reminding myself that something was clear and obvious to her that I can't understand or that I have a very different opinion about. I will never have the satisfaction of having Woolf explain how she arrived at the attitudes and opinions that she did. For those who share those attitudes and those who are able to project enough onto Woolf's framework to think that they share them, this book should be immensely satisfying. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the book. It's a good book. It simply lacks a certain groundedness in the real world (or at any rate, the world I am familiar with) to feel more substantial. That is, there is a certain irony in an upper middle class writer who prides herself on her social consciousness, but who comes across as being fundamentally out of touch with the world she thinks she is concerned with. That alone makes the book interesting if only for the questions it raises.
living in los angeles I drive a lot, so audio books save me from a lot of frustration!
Not for those looking for a plot, but the illuminating experience of entering the consciousness of Virginia Woolf, one of the best writers of all time. Her life and death inform her work so strongly, that this reader could not separate the two, and I was often brought to tears. The characters in this book all cling to the beauty of life, at the same time imagining it's inevitable end. Apparently, in an early draft, Mrs. Dalloway drowns herself as Virginia did some 15 years after she wrote this book.
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