Orlando: A Biography

Orlando: A Biography

by Virginia Woolf
4.6 30

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Orlando 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A superior and important novel by one of the geniuses of the English language. What does not add up, as I write this, is the 2 1/2 star rating which fails to characterize the two positive reviews. One reviewer entered a 5 star. Perhaps the other did not click on the 'stars' feature, something that would unfortunately be computed as a zero! In any event, Orlando deserves as many stars as B&N has to offer.
Catherine-E-Chapman More than 1 year ago
Didn’t Really Get It The odd thing about ‘Orlando’ is that, whilst it’s conceptually daring, narratively it’s far less unconventional than other of Virginia Woolf’s novels that I’ve read. And, perhaps because the book begins with an Elizabethan setting, the ‘story’ that I was constantly anticipating, was never really established, leaving me feeling dissatisfied at some level. I persevered with ‘Orlando’ because it was well-written and relatively short; had it been a longer book, I think I would almost certainly have abandoned it. Whilst others make more of Orlando’s transformation from man to woman during the course of the book, and the message that Virginia Woolf is sending the reader by virtue of this transition, I have to confess, I never really got it. Perhaps the feminist aspect of this book is just too subtle to really signify. Similarly, I didn’t read too much into the autobiographical angle of it – the idea that the character of Orlando was inspired by Vita Sackville-West – perhaps more interest is to be found in the text for fans of Woolf if you do this. Overall then, I would say that, if you’ve read and enjoyed other novels by Virginia Woolf, ‘Orlando’ is a worthwhile read to augment your understanding of her work. But, if you’re looking for an introduction to her writing, I would by far recommend reading ‘Mrs Dalloway’ or ‘To the Lighthouse’ before reading this book – I think there is a risk that ‘Orlando’ would just put you off reading her other novels.
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Talekyn More than 1 year ago
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? This Guy. I'm probably going to have to turn in my English Lit Major membership card over this, but man. I slogged through this, and didn't enjoy it at all. I'm not sure when I was last so bored by a book whose core concept intrigued me so much. Orlando is virtually immortal, changes gender mid-book, has a group of core household personnel who also seem to be immortal. The story starts in Elizabethan times and moves to the early 1900's. So much of that is fodder for great storytelling, not to mention the ability to comment on societal norms, gender reversals, etc. I won't deny that Woolf manages to pack a lot of social commentary into the book. I won't deny that she experiments with form in a way that makes most students and professors of English literature salivate. But in a book that is over 300 pages long ... nothing happens! Sure, there's the sudden deep freeze and equally sudden thaw of England that provides a momentary rush, but other than that, the protagonist spends pretty much the entire book sitting around depressed over the slights he receives from a woman, a fellow poet, and other varied personalities. I'll say it again: I was bored. And based on my reaction to this, which is supposed to be the most accessible of Woolf's works ... I can honestly say I don't think I'll be trying to read anything else by her. Also, It is interesting to me that when I looked on Amazon, BN and Goodreads, none of the product descriptions I read attempt to describe the plot of ORLANDO. These are product descriptions now, not reader reviews. They all talk about how original and influential the book is and what a great movie Tilda Swinton was in a few years back. But none of them even attempt to describe the plot beyond what's quoted in the premise above. Maybe I just looked in the wrong place, or maybe it's just become accepted that ORLANDO is one of those things you read because "it's a classic."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It is what fiction, to me is all about; creatively obscured with alliteration. So much to take in upon first read I really want to read it again
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is quite exuberating and it gets awkward at times but in the end all of it makes sense I think Virginia did herself well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Orlando is very rich, with deeply moving beauty that is nothing like the airy enchantment of other novels. Woolf's dramatic poetry and surreal modernism are a change from tradition, and a wonderful example of her profound concord with the 'spirit of the age' of the 1920's.