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Paperback The Waves Book

ISBN: 0586044523

ISBN13: 9780586044520

The Waves

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Book Overview

One of Woolf's most experimental novels, The Waves presents six characters in monologue - from morning until night, from childhood into old age - against a background of the sea. The result is a... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Existence through the eye of eternity

In this somewhat puzzling novel the sun rises and it sets, six people grow together from infant children to old age, and the waves crash endlessly upon the shore. That is about as close as you will get to a plot in this book. Everything else that happens, school, marriage, even death, seem to be nothing more than passing intensities amid the overbearing silence that is the roar of existence.I picked up this book after reading Mrs Dalloway. I loved Dalloway. It was the first Woolf book I had read and it blew me away. In comparison, reading The Waves was like taking a sandblaster to my eyeballs. She uses stream of consciousness as a medium to delve as deep as she possibly can into the intricacy of existence. Not much happens on a specific and literal level outside of the rising of the sun, but the endless poetry pouring forth from the perceptive cores (I'd say "minds" but I think it goes a bit beyond even that) of these six characters speaks volumes on the fearsome intensity of beauty, the vast complexity of sadness, and the endless endless isolation of the human soul.It is at times so deep and so personal that I felt more than a bit uncomfortable reading it. The effort is well worth it however. Woolf more than any other author I have read, struggles to communicate the hidden message contained in all stories and books... A message forever clouded in meanings and phrases... Lost in its own words.

A challenge,but worth it!

I loved this book, for both what it says - about life, time and relationships - and for how it says it. It is also true, though, that it is one of her less accessible works, and can occasionally be frustrating in its vagueness. To anyone considering buying this book, DO - it's worth it - 2 things that I learnt, though:1. This is probably not good as an introduction to Virginia Woolf, modernism or 'stream of consciousness' writing - it may be a good idea to read "To The Lighthouse" first.....2. If you're a genuis or an English teacher you may understand this right off, I don't know - but for the rest of us, I think that it's worth a second read, the first to feel the rhythm, and the second to actually understand the message (if that doesn't sound too ridiculous!) - otherwise it is easy to get bogged down and frustrated, as I did it the first time I read it. Every time I reread this book, I discover something new, despite the fact that spent almost a month studying it in depth....Good luck!

wAvEs of emotion disolving the "I"

You have never read a book like this. But don't let that intimidate. This is her most experimental work, but it is still much more accesible than many other modernists. Her sentences and paragraphs are intelligible; it's more the accumulation of pages that might begin to baffle some readers. Woolf obviously requires a good deal of concentration, but her best works are rewarding in a way that many difficult writers are not. (You won't need a professor nearby or a mess of annotations to guide you through dense thickets of allusion-filled, abstract prose.) I consider this to be Woolf's greatest work. Mrs. Dalloway may be a more pleasurable read and more consistently a "masterpiece", but the Waves is often so intense and beautiful that it's devastating. In fact, there are times that one is a bit overwhelmed by the surfeit of emotion, poetic words, unremitting interiority.My Woolf pix in order: 1. Waves 2. Dalloway 3. Jacob's Room 4. A Room of One's Own 5. OrlandoI personally feel that To the Lighthouse is more of a work to be appreciated than liked--it's simply too refined. And I couldn't make it through Between the Acts--too many upper class English people sitting around a table in the country sipping tea and performing their subtle, boring manners.Wait, I can't end on a sour note: Woolf is a bloody delight!

This is my favorite book.

I was introduced to Virginia Woolf in college when I took an entire class devoted to her work. Although I had never read any of her work before, I quickly became a fan. My professor saved the best for last - The Waves. This book is the most poetic, most profound, most intimate book I have ever read. No one speaks in this book. You follow the characters' lives from childhood to adulthood by entering their minds and listening to their thoughts. At first it is difficult to figure out what is going on. There is no narration except short poetic passages about the sea and the sun's placement over it preceding each section of the book (and each period of the characters' lives). By the middle of the book, you know who is speaking without reading the name of the character. You know how they think. I strongly encourage anyone who is even slightly curious to buy this book. This small investment can change how you view the world. The Waves takes much longer to get through than some whodunit, but that's the beauty of it. My husband and I read a passage at night before going to bed. It's best when read slowly, with time to reflect after a small amount of pages. You'll be highlighting sentences that make great quotes as you go. What a glorious book!

Do you think you've read Virginia Woolf?

Even if you've read other Virigina Woolf, you haven't come close to the experience of The Waves. Did you have to read To the Lighthouse for some class back in college? The Waves seems like a totally different author. Perhaps Jacob's Room comes closer, but still The Wave is unique:The whole text is entirely soliloquys in the first person. No 3rd person description, no omniscient narrator, just the opening of quotation marks, one of the few characters begins to speak, then the ending of quotation marks... beginning once more with the opening quotation marks for the next speaker's soliloquy, and so on and on in waves of thought.We follow each speaker from early childhood to old age, and we know them intimately by the book's end. Give the book a chance; at first I could only take three or four *pages* at a time, but also looked forward to these few pages every day. Later, I could easily read more and more, and truly the experience was like "waves" of life, lapping over my consciousness.If you like unique "novels," e.g. Nabokov's Pale Fire (although different it's unique too), this is a must-have. There's nothing else like it, even in Virginia Woolf's body of work.If you can't take the full load of first-person consciousness, but like her dreamy style, then go for her book of short stories. But I recommend keeping the book, and treating yourself, a few pages at a time... you too will feel at the end of a magnificent life's journey by time you follow each character's thoughts to the end.

The Waves Mentions in Our Blog

The Waves in You Are What You Read
You Are What You Read
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 29, 2022

Here at Thriftbooks, many of us identify as book lovers. But, obviously, we don’t love all books equally. In fact, most of us gravitate toward a favorite genre or two. Does what you read say something about who you are? Read on to see what your favorite genre might reveal about you.

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