The Waves Paperback – 1978
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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....
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!
Most recent customer reviews
Not my favorite Woolf novel but definitely worth the read.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Expertly read by Frances Jeater and superbly enhanced with classical music, The Waves is the succinctly abridged and highly recommended CD audiobook rendition of Virginia Woolf's... Read morePublished on May 8 2004 by Midwest Book Review
Virgie was a rare poetic master. Consider The Waves a maximization of those frilly words. They clothe the concept novel purely based upon six character soliloquies. Read morePublished on Dec 12 2001 by old_hyperbolic_squiggly
When you hear about this book, the story of several people told in thier own soliloques, from birth to death, from morning to evening, you think that it must be confusing to read. Read morePublished on June 26 2001 by Peter Neofotis
My exploration of Virginia Woolf has been a progression from To the Lighthouse to Orlando to The Waves. Read morePublished on June 18 2001 by Rhetorick
'The Waves' is a sublime and gentle book full of diversity of V.Wolf's troubled life. I find this book very soothing at the same time and there is a certain continuity in it too. Read morePublished on Sept. 13 2000
I had never read a book like this one. It made me feel like the bathwater after someone has pulled the plug. This is partly because of the unusual construction of the story. Read morePublished on Aug. 21 2000
Harold Bloom (literary critic) put "The Waves" on his list of books that are worth reading and rereading. I heartily agree. Read morePublished on May 22 2000 by Cynthia Williams