Customer Reviews for

Mrs. Dalloway

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

'make sure something happens in it'

Mrs. Dalloway is a difficult book to read, especially if you do not enjoy reading or you are not a very apt reader. I've read several reviews on Virginia Woolf's books, and I have to say that the main reason behind the bad reviews is ignorance. It is a day, an...
Mrs. Dalloway is a difficult book to read, especially if you do not enjoy reading or you are not a very apt reader. I've read several reviews on Virginia Woolf's books, and I have to say that the main reason behind the bad reviews is ignorance. It is a day, and in this single day in a person's life Woolf makes the closest representation of love in writing I have ever read. Simply genius, however difficult the book is for you, I assure you that the ending makes it worth it. However, if by the time you finish it you feel like Woolf failed and did not 'make sure something happened', go watch an action film that's not too clever for you. :)

posted by Anonymous on May 10, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Don't Expect Riveting Storytelling

I was assigned this book several times in high school and college and turned to Monarch notes rather than finishing, because words can not express how tedious and boring I found this book. Hated it. Recently, I wanted to read Cunningham's "The Hours" because I was intri...
I was assigned this book several times in high school and college and turned to Monarch notes rather than finishing, because words can not express how tedious and boring I found this book. Hated it. Recently, I wanted to read Cunningham's "The Hours" because I was intrigued by the film. I knew that Mrs Dalloway was one source for the novel, so wanting to get more out of my reading I returned to this novel, thinking, well, maybe being more of a sophisticated reader I'll enjoy it now. I can't say I did.

The novel is written with the stream of consciousness technique and has no chapters and few section breaks. Woolf's sentences are famously long and complex. Sometimes this makes for lyrical, sinuous prose; I especially remembered one passage about the flowers looking like starched laundry striking me as beautiful. It was easier to take in such sentences early in the book, but the prose became more and more numbing because of the its unrelieved density. There are many paragraphs and sentences I reread more than once trying to make sense of them. The narrative often comes across as rambling and incoherent. Given one of the characters is mentally ill, I think some of the narrative is deliberately mad. Different point of views mix throughout the novel without clear cut edges. This is also one of those novels that's feels abstruse, dated, because of many contemporary references are hard to get as a 21st century American without constantly turning to the notes.

There's little discernable plot. We follow various characters--mostly related to Mrs Dalloway--through one mid-June day in London, but the events feel disjointed. Besides there being no plot to absorb me, there was not one character I found likable--I found Mrs Dalloway herself and almost all the characters vapid and shallow. This isn't an accessible story like those of a Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte or EM Forester--its very interior and page after page is filled with character's thoughts. There is a structure and technique of historic importance, but not a read I'd call enjoyable and filled with the melancholies of middle age. A formative classic for good reason, so I'd give it a shot if you haven't read it--but I finished it more frustrated than moved.

posted by Lisa_RR_H on May 23, 2010

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  • Posted June 28, 2010

    Mrs. Dalloway

    I will admit, when I first attempted to read this novel, I was intimidated by Woolf's complicated, dense prose and lack of plot substance. I now can say that it is one of my favorite novels not for its plot (which is admittedly nothing more than one day in the life of a simple woman setting up for an evening with friends) or escapism in setting or fantastic characters but for the symbolism throughout. The characters are shattered, fragmented (because of WWI, in my opinion) and seem to represent facets of society. I found, in them, bits and pieces of my own self; I was forced to look upon the unpleasant and questioned the supposed "good" qualities. The style of writing is quite virtuosic and needs a steady mind from the reader for interpreting the stream of thought and exit and entrance of each character. It is for this reason that I would feel apprehensive in choosing this book for a readers group or class discussion. Woolf's prose is very filling and consuming: not something many casual readers would like when indulging in a book (which is also the reason I hesitate suggesting Mrs. Dalloway for literature classes unless they are advanced students who are taught the significant aspects of literature analysis). On the whole, Mrs. Dalloway is quite a wonderful read, delving into the psychological and social aspects of what could be any given day in anyone's life.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2014

    Wonderful

    This book was wonderful for me to read. I think I will read it again!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2004

    May need deep concentration, but at the end is a fantastic read!!!

    I will be utterly honest, when I first read this novel I didn't like it too much. I thought it too confusing. However, I told myself that I should give it a second try. It is then that I found out how marvellous this novel and the writer Virginia Woolf is. Everything is meticulous. Anyone who is a average reader prepare to make an effort. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2003

    The book had me hook!!!

    It was a good book. I enjoyed it a lot. I wouldnt say that it was the greatest book Ive read. Virginia Woolf style of writing was different and unique. I recommend this novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2003

    Reader's Opinion

    This book has a great plot, opening chapter, and conclusion. It has all the aspects of a great book. It will surely keep you reading. This is a kind of book that you would want to read over and over again. But one negative opinion of mines, is that the three settings and three main characters were very confusing. I would sometimes loose my place in the book! But overall review, I think this book is great, and I'm sure that you would want to read it too!!!

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