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First of all, this isn't in the style of Jane Eyre. Modernist writing can be very, very challenging. This book and "To the Lighthouse" are in the same class with James Joyce and William Faulkner. These authors require interaction with the reader.
If you are willing to 'work' with the author and pay attention to the writing, you will be rewarded with a life-long impact that will make much other writing seem vapid.
There are two ways to approach this book. One, search online for notes and commentary and prepare yourself for the journey. If you understand where the book is going, you will greatly enjoy the journey. Woolf intentionally rations information which can make the book very hard to follow. But as in life, if you know a person, you can follow their thoughts with fewer words because you understand that person.
The book is much like a conversation we have in our heads. It's not made of fully complete thoughts and is distracted by other thoughts. And the book takes place in a very narrow slice of time---a single day but with references to times past. Hang on tight!
Sit quietly and think. Pay attention to how your mind will burst forth with fragments of ideas, odd images and unrelated fragments. This how our brains work and what the modernists were exploring.
The other approach is to go through the book twice, unprepared. You'll have to go through the book more than once anyway. I listened to the same 30 minutes sometimes 5 or more times. Move ahead. Go back again!
Now, if you are willing to do this, a treasure awaits you. If not, this book will be a horrible drudge.
I loved it. Frankly, "To the Lighthouse" was easier.
121 of 124 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about Mrs. Dalloway?
The writing just blew me away. I thought that it would be inaccessible, but instead it grabbed me from the first few words and never let go.
Have you listened to any of Juliet Stevenson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I have and I think that this was her best.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
I've read Mrs Dalloway twice before. Loved did but failed to connect it all together and feel its moments. Listening to it being much faster that reading it, transmitted the true spirit of the book. And being Mrs Dalloway, the characters minds and imaginative thoughts enchanted me completely. It is as if I have never read it before. The sense is magical.
I understand now the genius of Woolf's flow of thoughts. I am not a fast reader but if you are then you probably are lucky enough to get the sense by reading alone.
For me, I cannot wait to listen to all Woolf's books and live the magic.
And important to say, an excellent narrater such as Juliet Stevenson is key to that wonderful and accurate transmission.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
I read English Literature at University and Virginia Woolf always used to bore me. To The Lighthouse was compulsory reading but I never got past like page 10. Then my favourite movie of all time The Hours came out and I saw some extras about how it's related to Mrs Dalloway and I dashed to a book shop and bought the novel. When I started reading it I found myself actually speaking out the words under my breath, it was so absolutely beautiful, I had to hear the words. (In this way I was only able to read it when I was alone in my room). So the first book I downloaded from Audible was Mrs Dalloway, the second one To The Lighthouse. Juliet Stevenson is the perfect narrator for this book. The detail with which everything and everyone is described blows my mind and I don't mind the slowness because it's like a painting where you just have to stop and look at every little detail, you can't skip anything. Woolf was clearly not only genial but also a beautiful, beautiful mind.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
My review is biased because it was a prescribed English text and because we had to analyse the sh** out of it. So take no offence, I am sure it is a good read normally. And the reader was a good fit for this type of novel. Performance was great.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful