Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Reader's Diary #9: Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway (up to page 30)

This is one of those books that has just been sitting on my bookshelf forever (what fellow blogger Nancy refers to as a "ballycumber" I believe). I got it after first reading The Hours by Michael Cunningham and if you're at all familiar with this book or movie then you know what the connection is. That said, I don't remember a whole lot about The Hours so don't expect a comparison of the two. That said, lots about The Hours is coming back to me as I read Mrs. Dalloway.

Since I'm only 30 pages in (and I'm aware that different printings and editions may be numbered differently) I can't say much more than my initial thoughts. I've heard a lot of people say that this particular book has an interesting stream-of-consciousness style. I wasn't sure what they meant until I started reading it. It's like if you looked at a painting of a group of people and after focusing on one character, returned to an earlier one and found it had moved. Or vaguely like the "Imitation of Life" video by R.E.M. She jumps from one character to the next and back again without any warnings. Still, you sense that Mrs. Dalloway (duh) and Septimus will be the pivotal characters. I'll admit that I'm finding it a little difficult to follow so far. Maybe I'm tired, or maybe I'll never get into it. We'll have to wait and see.
I am gathering that it'll be more of a psychological read than a thriller. There seems to be a lot of "people watching" going on as well as intrapersonal reflection. There has been teases of action about to occur (the mysterious limo, the sky-writing), but they seemed to have faded away. Again, this goes back to the question I had raised about knowing the life of an author and its effect on your reading; perhaps because I know Virginia Woolf killed herself I'm looking for something psychological in this book. But I'll just have to find out.
Until then.

1 comment:

Christina said...

Hi, John! Welcome to the web! It's great to see someone reading something intelligent! I am going through brain is turning to a blob of pudding and I need to be a geek again.

I haven't read much since high school, as far as things that will stretch my mind a little, unfortunately. I did re-read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy before the movies came out, and I am reading the Chronicles of Narnia a chapter a night to our kids (we're on The Silver Chair) but I'm sort of craving a good Shakespeare play or even some Poe! Maybe you've inspired me to get back into it and revisit my geekdom...maybe I’ll take some courses…graduate college when our kids do…

I'll keep checking in! Happy blogging (don't you love how we keep on adding words to the English language!!!)