This is one of Woolf's wittiest, socially satirical novels. Rachel Vinrace embarks for South America on her father's ship, and is launched on a course of self-discovery in a modern version of the mythic voyage.
Superbly Written.--Submitted by Samina Ansari
I have read many other Virginia Woolf works, and I can safely say this is the most conventional, which is not surprising, considering it is her first novel, published in 1915 when the author was 33 years old. Considering her other novels, it is perhaps not spectacular, but when compared to other authors' works, it is easy to see what a literary genius Woolf truly is. (I only hope my first attempt is as brilliant).
The story is a real one--and I stress the word real. This is no conventional coming-of-age story; the heroine faces obstacles unique to her situation, and the love story is neither contrived nor unnatural. Thus the reader becomes a voyeur, looking through a window at people we feel must be living, breathing souls. This is part of Woolf's brilliance.
And yet, the characters always feel a bit wooden. Rachel is not the most finely-wrought character, in my opinion. It is her aunt, Helen Ambrose, whom I feel is most finely drawn out by the author. In the end, it almost becomes a novel in which both Helen and Rachel are the heroines, not just Rachel herself.
I finished the novel today, and tried to come up with a satisfactory conclusion: perhaps "life goes on" or "drink every moment to the lees" but they both sound contrived and cliched. Perhaps it's simpler than that. Perhaps Woolf simply wanted a book in which happy endings don't occur, because happy endings belong in fairy tales and not always in real life. Her words smack of truth, which in the end, is far more important than flowery make-believe.
i am a tunisian student and i must read this book but i have no idea nor about woolf nor her works. Any help?
I think that Virginia Woolf did a terrific job writing this piece; considering that it was her first one. She made a huge impact on the literary world.
Here is where you find links to related content on this site or other sites, possibly including full books or essays about Virginia Woolf written by other authors featured on this site.
Sorry, no links available.