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 naïve 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.