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The Waves Paperback – 1950


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Paperback, 1950
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World (1950)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156949601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156949606
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,450,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LukeHandsfree on Oct. 24 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is without a doubt the best book I have ever read. It is based in the early 20th century in London and the surrounding counties. It is divided by short passages describing the sun rising and falling, which are described in language which corresponds to the 6 narrator's increasing level of understanding about the world. At the beginning (when the 6 are in nursery school) the language is very symbolic and full of physical observation, which progresses to more socially aware language as their lives and their own understanding of the world increases. The events in the book are never described in a third person style, but are told as interpretations from the character's own viewpoints. The progression in the book is subtle and very moving, and I found at times that reading this book was like reading my own thoughts, so lyrically is the writing. The contrast in style and outlook between the 6 characters is well defined, but keeps the vibrancy of description and lyrical prose style throughout. This book is quite difficult to read, as the language and feelings of the characters can have priority over traditional descriptions of events in the book, but then it is so rewarding to read, that you won't care! I have been looking for a long time for a book that matches this in terms of vision and emotional depth, but have yet to find it either in contemporary or more traditional authors. I have read this book twice, and found it to be a more fulfilling experience the second time around, as my understanding of the world increased, so did my understanding of the character's feeling within the book. In short, a mind-blowing read!
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By A Customer on June 6 2004
Format: Hardcover
In my opinion, The Waves is the best English Novel ever written. Through this novel, Woolf solves one of the main problems of modern writing -- the problem of subjectivity, namely, how can we connect with other people in a real way, if we are limited by our own conscious experience. In the Waves, Woolf helps us transcend our own consciousness, helps us break down the divisions between ourselves and the rest of the world through her use of language.
In The Waves, Woolf does not merely drop us into the consciousness of her characters. For example, the language at the beginning of the novel describing the very first sensory experiences of each of her characters, is too complex for a new born infant. Instead, Woolf uses sophisticated language to place the reader in the same mindset as each character, and in doing so the reader comes to have direct experience of another person outside of themselves.
Every sentence in this book describes something real and true about the world. She puts voice to experience that I didn't know that I had. She communicates the very hardness of communicating and she does it beautifully. This book changed my whole life.
The Waves is definitely a challenging read, but well worth it. I believe that anyone can enjoy this book if they are willing to put in the effort. Read it -- you will thank yourself.
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Format: Paperback
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!
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Format: Paperback
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. Orlando
I 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!
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