Book Review: The Voyage Out

voyageout
The Voyage Outby Virginia Woolf

I love Woolf. To the Lighthouse is probably one of my favorite books ever. The Voyage out is not quite what I was expecting. It’s written in a narrative-style reminiscent of the typical novel of the period, and not quite what I had grown to expect from Woolf. The prose was fantastic, and she manages to capture little ideas and emotions that are generally not dealt with in books. For instance, at one point the main character feels irritated with the actions of all of those around her, merely because she is lost in thought and does not want to be interrupted. Who hasn’t felt that?

I think my problem with the book may be the fact that the back cover synopsis of the Barnes and Noble Classics edition did not feel at all like the book. In a nutshell it said “Helen notices Rachel is growing up when her engagement to Terrence Hewet starts to go badly”. Well, when you take into account Hewet doesn’t even show up ’til midway through the book and they’re not engaged until mid-way through and Helen is less mature than her niece and…well, not so much Barnes and Noble synopsis-folks.

The nature of the feminine struggle, more explicitly dealt with in A Room of One’s own, is prominent in this book. Woolf deftly portrays views on either side of the debate, and whilst to the modern reader the fact that the lives of men and women are disparate is slightly absurd, this novel makes one realize how real the struggle really was.

Plus, there’s a passage with one woman bragging about her knitting.

Did I mention I love Woolf?

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