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Recommended Read: Virginia Woolf

by Lisa Ellison

Seven (and last) in a series highlighting the books our contributing and guest writers most enjoyed reading in 2014.

Mrs._Dalloway_coverThanks to a colleague who asked me to read a few of her books, I’ve been on a Virginia Woolf kick lately. My favorite of all was Mrs. Dalloway (Hogarth Press, 1925). There are no exciting adventures, no fast-paced action. Instead, Woolf’s talent lies in creating grandness from the sensations and (mis)perceptions of her characters. Her imagery is thick with metaphors you can hold and smell, her use of language rich and sensual.

High-society Clarissa Dalloway preparing for a dinner party, her old friend Peter Walsh looking for her approval as he dissolves one marriage for a new one with a far-away bride, a World War I shell-shocked veteran and his homesick Italian wife are the central characters to whose minds we are privy during the day the novel takes place.

Who’s afraid of independent journalism? Not our supporters! Choose Mrs. Dalloway or any one of 10 other titles as our thank-you for becoming a Guardian Angel. You’ll also get The Greenville Guardian: Our First Three Years, an anthology of our best work so far. Click here for details and the full list of your book choices – but don’t wait! This offer won’t last long!

The undercurrent that moves throughout the book and drives the characters is one of despair and unhappiness. Their interactions are marked by misunderstandings they fail to recognize — misunderstandings of each other and their own situations.

On this gray backdrop, the most striking and vivid images, of which there are more than a few, are moments of happiness and sheer love-of-life.

(Have you read it? What do you think about Peter always fiddling around with his knife?)

Lisa loves Virginia Woolf.

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