It took me like three months but I finally finished reading ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ for my Reading Classics project. The time it took me to read this novel is not so much a statement on the quality of the book but in some part due to it being summer and me not reading as much as I do during the winter.
‘Mrs. Dalloway’ is, like everything I have read by Virginia Woolf, pretty epic. I know people have controversial opinions on her work but I can connect with it on a level I hardly can with other works of fiction and I’ve been fascinated with her for 10 years now. I love the way she writes and thinks; I know I said it before but she is so modern, so ahead of her times. Sometimes I think she’s even ahead of the present.
‘Mrs. Dalloway’ shows one day in the lives of Clarissa Dalloway, her husband and some of Clarissa’s friends. Mrs. Dalloway is throwing a party and I think I’ve read that first sentence so many times now, it is forever ingrained in my brain. Throughout the description of that day, the reader also learns a lot about the various characters, how they stand with each other, about their pasts etc.
The novel is written in form of stream of consciousness, which I have to say, I always struggle with because the point of focus can shift even within a sentence which makes it more difficult to follow. And yet, at the same time, I’m utterly fascinated by the whole process. It’s an underused element of style in my opinion because it opens up a lot of potential for telling stories that other narrative voices just cannot offer. It draws you in and you feel like you cannot escape the flow of words and story. I can’t always read that because it takes more mental capacity and after a full day at work I’m not always up for it but when you’re in the right frame of mind, it’s absolutely astounding.
Typical for Virginia Woolf’s writing is some discussion of the equality between men and women in society and sure as hell, the story delivers on that. It also offers not-so-thinly-veiled queer characters in the form of Clarissa Dalloway herself and her friend Sally Seton, who have been in love with each other before both of them married men. I can never wrap my head around the fact that Virginia Woolf wrote her books in the 1920s because in a way, they are so free of all the angst and worries contemporary authors seem to carry along while writing, especially about LGBTQ people.
So yes, I enjoyed this read a lot even if it took me way to long to finish. The funny thing is, I read it before, years ago but the only reason I remember is because of the notes I left in the book. It’s rather odd.