Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Voyage Out by Virgina Woolf

This book took me a bit to get through, mostly because I was sick in between but also because it has a lot to it. I can see that Woolf spent a lot of time with this book, it is said that she rewrote this many times. She includes so many ideas and thoughts in this your head spins a bit. It definitely isn’t a book that you read just for pleasure. You have to concentrate and keep characters straight. There are a lot of characters, but they all are very distinctive. I don’t know how she does that. She writes through the eyes of many of the characters.

It is mostly the story of Rachel, a girl who has been very sheltered by her father and Aunts who raised her. She has no real idea what it is like to be in a relationship. She has never really experienced anyone that is in one, her Aunts being unmarried and her mother dying when she is young. She is taken under the wing reluctantly by Aunt Helen, who is married to her father’s brother. Helen convinces Rachel’s father to let her stay in the house they are staying in, instead of accompanying him on his work trip. During the voyage and the time on the island they become very close.

I find this books split into two different stories almost, the first the voyage and the second the time on the island. During the voyage Helen and Rachel feel each other out. They at first don’t like each other much and once Helen sorts out how na├»ve Rachel is, she decides it is her duty to help her become a woman safely. During the time on the island they are more like friends who really care for each other. The other reason I think the book could have been two, is that during the voyage Rachel has an intimate experience with Mr. Dalloway and there is a bit of a ending there. Then on the island they meet all these different people who expand the view of the novel a lot. I’m still amazed at how much Woolf puts in this book. There are ideas about society, marriage, religion, etc. I will have to read this again sometime. Not right now, but one day when I can really take another look at all she says.

I thought it was interesting that you meet Mr. and Mrs. Dalloway in this book. She wasn’t anything like I expected. I didn’t think of her as a society type person. Of course that is because I haven’t read the book yet, and don’t know anything about it. I only really know Woolf by the story or essay “Room of Ones Own”. So reading her has been very interesting.

I’m reading Arthur and George by Julian Barnes right now. It is a bit disappointing only because I don’t like books were there are court scenes. I find it frustrating because the truth always seems to get twisted and you can never be sure if the person really will get off…in this book I’m sure he doesn’t…though I could be wrong. So I’ll be writing about that once I’ve finished.


Anonymous said...

Dawn, I am so glad you're back and feeling better now, a bad cold can knock the wind out of you!

I,m embarrassed to say I have never read a Virginia Woolf novel but this one sure sounds fascinating and how cool that it provides an introduction to The Dalloways. I have "Being Mrs. Dalloway" on my bookshelf here and am considering reading it for booklogged's Classics Challenge, however, I may change my mind.

Before I go, a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I guess it's not the same since you're so far away from family, but I do hope it's a happy day. Will you be having Turkey? :)

Dawn said...

No turkey, we went to a fake Mexican place and I had something that looked like Mexican...sort of! Taste...we won't go there! Now I've been trying to call my family, but no one is answering...so what do ya do? Go to bed I guess!

Ex Libris said...

I read The Voyage Out last month and, to my surprise, loved it!

Danielle said...

I am reading The Voyage Out right now. At first I wasn't sure about it, though I had been looking forward to reading it. I am really enjoying it now. You are right--there is lots to it, and you can tell Woolf spent lots of time working on it. I plan on reading more of her work--I want to see how she grows as an author.