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I may have enjoyed this more if I hadn't seen the movie first. Also, while well written, sometimes it got rather wordy and flourish-y. I was an English double-major and have a good vocabulary but from time to time I thought "really, you're going to make me read this sentence TWICE to grasp the full meaning?"
A bit hard to get into for a little while, but overall I really liked it! 4 stars
2.5 for how much I enjoyed it, but 4 for the writing, depth and beauty of it.
This was a dark, heavy read. Pretty much every character was desperately unhappy and thought seriously about suicide. It definitely put me in a weird mood for a few days. I am quite happy to be finished it.
That said, it was beautifully written and I was compelled to keep reading. The characters are beautifully complex! I feel like there was probably a lot more depth and symbolism than I picked up on. I'm sure if I read it again, now knowing the ending, that I might be able to recognize some themes and subtleties that eluded me the first time. It's like swimming on the surface of an ocean. I know there is greater depth than I'm exploring. Unfortunately, I think it will be a while before I could ever think of picking it up again. I'm a tad bit too empathetic to survive reading this one again anytime soon.
If you are looking for a read that really makes you think about love and death, life and how one's choices lead to monotonous unhappiness for all involved, and, perhaps, if you are anything like me, a read that truly unsettles you, then this one is for you!
Stunning. Often found myself thinking: "My God, this passage couldn't have been written any more perfectly".
The author brings with rare ease and assurance a convergence between Virginia Woolf’s writing of Mrs. Dalloway and the lives of two American women. He is empathetic and lyrically watchful in his report on late twentieth century life with all its conflicting emotional claims.
NYPL Staff Pick
Clarissa plans a party for her oldest friend who has just one a prestigious literary prize and is imminently dying of AIDS. Laura, a 1950s housewife, struggles against waves of panic and isolation. Virginia Wolfe works on Mrs. Dalloway and longs for escape -- possibly even only death will do it. This one is extraordinary.
- Lynn Lobash, Readers Service
Michael Cunningham won the Pulitzer Prize for this masterpiece that weaves together the stories of three generations of women, each during a single day in her life, showing us how extraordinarily interconnected our seemingly ordinary lives are.
I'm not a big fan of Woolf, so this book was not to capture my interest; I realized, however, that this is my own failure and not a real mark of the quality of the book. Because it is indeed well written. There is a quiet power that weaves through the pages, deep emotions that lurk beneath the surface but pushed back. Convention, fear and ambiguity are all motivators that are not expressed but stifle the characters.
Despite myself, I was engrossed in Laura's despair and in Clarissa's need for order with Virginia's ghost in the background. The ending was no surprise to me, a neat way to explain the relationships, but an almost needless one because the lives of these women stand alone and are connected through time and emotion - that's the real strength of this book: the love of a rose for beauty, the rush of feeling, the unspoken hurt of love.
i had previously seen and enjoyed the movie version, but the book proved to be even better. Such pretty prose; strangely uplifting even though the subject matter is so dark.
The novel is a story of three women.
1. Clarissa gives a party for her (long ago) dead partner.
2. Laura is the mother of the dead man, who ahe has abandoned long time ago.
3. Virginia Woolf, who drowns herself, although was living with her caring husband and son.
the story intertwines the lives of the three women who are from different generations.
Splendid narration it is.
The book begins with the suicide of Virginia Woolf and doesn't get any more cheerful than that. Laura Brown is an unhappy mom who checks into a hotel and considers suicide. The book ends with a poet comitting suicide. Even though the book won a Pulitzer Prize, it seems dark and arty. The language is like a painting, but it describes artists, gays, lesbians, and suicidal thoughts.
This book should not have been read by the author. He took huge breaths after every word -- very annoying! Spend the extra money and hire a voice actor :)