Customer Reviews for

Mrs. Dalloway

Average Rating 4
( 89 )
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(42)

4 Star

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(13)

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(5)

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(10)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 12 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

3 out of 6 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2006

    '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, 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. :)

    8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    GOOD NEWS FOR ALL YA'L THAT SAY IT TERRIBLE OR GOOD

    Who wants a good book? Wait let me refrase that who wants a teenage book, with magic flying back and forth in each battle that consistes of life or death, with romance, betrayl, mystery magic, stubbonness, and heart stolen love. Eden Mathews is a 16 year girl who beleives she is a reguler girl who has shut down 3 other schools on''acsudental'' and has yet to figure out why until resentle at her new school Kingsley after just having a fight with 5 men that she beleive she killed. Now on top on that she just finds out shes not normal she is a super-human and finding out that all the schools she closed down could have resisted. And on top of the school roof in the middle of a fight agianest 5 men to save the man of her love life who is also the crowned prince then all of a sudden BOOM Eden has deen knocked off the 3 story high roof. If you think I just gave away the whole story your wrong I didn't. The books called Reckless Magic and the author is Rachel Higginson she has 3 other books in the series this is a must read book. Lets just say that I'm not someone to be mean but I just have to say that you are a *** ***** if you don't fall in love with her books!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Escaping with Virginia

    A good book to slowly work your way through. A complex plot, beautifully written with style not seen today. I hung on every word, loved the characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    Poetic. Amazing.

    Each character comes to life through Woolf's stream of consciousness technique. Their motivations become reasonable and clear. It left me breathless and awed up to the last scene at Mrs. Dalloway's party.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    Beautiful!

    This book is like some movies that you want to watch again and again and everytime you find something new, you understand more... Everything becomes clearer(!) For some might not be easy to read but if you slow down and take your time it's so worth it! ENJOY!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2006

    A Masterpiece!

    With 'Mrs. Dalloway', Virginia Woolf accomplishes the near impossible: she makes the mundane and ordinary seem profound and complex. Only the most talented of writers can succeed in telling a story that doesn't rely on an elaborate plot or an exciting premise. 'Mrs. Dalloway' works so well precisely becase of the simplicity of its premise: to tell the story of one day in the life of a woman preparing to host a party. It's refreshing to read a novel that is neither contrived nor trying too hard to impress us as readers. By the end of the novel, one feels a real connection with the characters because they seem so real and tangible. With rich and textured characterizations, Woolf is able to explore themes that directly relate to the complexity of the human soul. This is a beautifully written work of art. It's the kind of novel that really makes you appreciate great literature. Although this is a very challenging novel, I'm sure most experienced readers will find it immensely satisfying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2005

    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    If you don't enjoy reading complex novels, be afraid... be very afraid. Woolf's MRS. DALLOWAY is one of the most eloquent and challenging novels in existence. Those who cannot appreciate such narrative brilliance should a) not give it a meaningless and inane review of 'it's too hard!' with one star on bn.com, or b) avoid the novel entirely. MRS. DALLOWAY is not for the faint of heart or the easily-bored. It IS for readers who like something challenging, who are visual (the imagery she uses is just incredible!), and who can appreciate one of the finest novels produced by one of the finest authors of the last century. One of my favorites, highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2005

    A good novel does not need a cliched conflict

    What I liked most about Mrs. Dalloway was its complexity of every single character and the lack of a cliched conflict that would usually involve a passionate love between two characters and the inability to solve this conflict. Woolf did an excellent job in portraying each character, giving each an individual and distinctive voice. Many people who have read Mrs. Dalloway usually would ask 'That's it? What's going on?' because the book ends as the day ends. Like a realistic painting, Woolf painted the lives of these people in one day, and leaves the readers with these colorful and vivid images.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2004

    My second Woolf book, I love it.

    This is without a doubt, the most interesting book I have ever read. Virginia Woolf write beautifully, and her characters are interesting and unflawed. One of the best books I have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2003

    A Carefully Constructed Work of Narrative Genius

    For any readers out there with enough patience to give Mrs. Dalloway the time it deserves the experience of reading Woolf's classic and most highly developed, highly evolved novel should without a doubt he an experience beyond ecstatic. The style while being very dense in many places (not Henry James dense) remains at heart conversational. One must keep in mind while reading that the minds of Septimus Warren Smith and Clarissa Dalloway are not average to any degree; it takes, therefore, an above average reader to appreciate their thoughts and observations, which are at many times the thoughts and observations of writers, or in this case, just one writer. One cannot, however, be expected to distance oneself from their creative work, and it is foolish to reprimand Woolf for putting much of her own thought into Mrs. Dalloway; whatever one writes about they essentially will be writing about themself. As much feminism and Londonisms Woolf works into the novel there is still a immensity of other characters who do not relate to Woolf's own personal beliefs. Septimus, poor Septimus Warren Smith, is a perfect example of this; while Clarissa wonders about London thinking about Peter Walsh (an old lover recently returned to London) and her party for that evening, Septimus follows his wife Rezia thinking about honor, the war, society, and his own eventual death. He is not involved with the intensly trivial--he is not involved with life. The lack of a single central intelligence enables Woolf to characterize everyone from many different angles, adding many different point of views, many different patterns of thought and of life. To call this exploration of the human mind 'boring' is to call the human mind boring. One could simplify that further and call life boring, call the world boring. There is nothing boring about Woolf's style, or her beautiful novel Mrs. Dalloway. If you have not read it, read it. If you've read it disappointedly then, as John Berryman put it 'Ever to confess you're bored means you have no Inner Resources.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2003

    Amazing

    I may only be 16, but I definitely think that this is one of the best books one could read. It had me hooked, I had to know what was going to happen to the characters. And, I could relate to them too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2003

    My new favorite novel

    This is a complex and enchanting novel. The use of the mirror images between characters pulls the scenes together to create an interconnected web of english society. I think that Septimus is the most interesting character I have come across in literature.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2003

    Awesome Book

    I have not completed the novel, but even though I am only partly through it, I am amazed at the style of writing and the vision Virginia had. The sentences have extreme rhythm and flow, the characters are complex... you can relate to bits of everyone... while you feel their emotions right along with them... an awesome read and highly recommended... not for the simple minded type of reader...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2003

    Brilliant

    A masterpiece by one of the greatest writers in English literary history, Mrs. Dalloway is both a moving and innovative novel that breaks new ground in the representation of inner experience. A day in the life of a London woman, Clarissa Dalloway, Woolf. Some call it the greatest novel written in a decade, others of all time, but I stand by this novel whole-heartedly saying that it is the best book I¿ve ever read. Another great I¿ve read this year is Dreams, a book by Belcher that acknowledges the inner self as ones greatest achievement and seeks through aspiration by inner reflection of ones memories and emotions. This transcends philosophical ambition and creativity recharging the soul. My greatest thanks go out to the authors of both of these books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2002

    Beautifully poetic

    "Mrs. Dalloway" is a wonderful, touching novel. It's a bit difficult to understand, but it's worth getting through. Woolf wrote it in such a way that one can see and think through these characters. We can be with them throughout their day and the events that occur. We're drawn in as a reader. There aren't chapters in the book, and that may throw some off, but it's genuinely worth it for this piece of art.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2000

    wonderfully poetic in form

    This is a wonderful story which takes us through a day in the life of Mrs Dalloway. It is not a feminist handbook, but a beautifully written story of how our lives are all intertwined, bound to each other by circumstances that we sometimes are not even aware of. We follow the errands of Mrs. Dalloway as she prepares for an evening party and the nightmarish last day of poor Septimus who is suffering from 'soldier's heart'. It is written in a rare style which is near to poetry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 1999

    Artistic and Exhilirating

    This was my first experience with Woolf, and as a result I have come to recognize her as a true artist of language. The impact of 'Mrs. Dalloway' is psychological and thought-provoking. The flow shifts constantly in a stream-of-conscious examination of the individual persepectives of those in the world around Mrs. Dalloway, and those in the world around us. The syntax adds to the flow of the novel, creating something more than a story... a work of art.

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    Posted December 13, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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