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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Woolf- ethereal and poetic, engaging and mysterious
A typically wonderful read from the great Virginia Woolf. While Jacob is on the one hand the centre of this book, he is also the enigma which the reader never quite finds. We hear many others talking of Jacob, but we catch only fleeting glimpses of Jacob himself, making this book a strange, at times disorientating read. This however, is clearly Woolf's intention, as she...
Published on 28 Feb 2002 by nickmathison@hotmail.com

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good - but not the best one to start with
This is an excellent novel and leaves you gasping with admiration at Ms Woolf's wonderful prose. However, compared to her best work - Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, The Waves - it reads more like an experiment in prose. If you haven't yet read any Virginia Woolf, start with To the Lighthouse or Mrs Dalloway. Don't expect racy page turners but just wonderful language...
Published 5 months ago by James Blades


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Woolf- ethereal and poetic, engaging and mysterious, 28 Feb 2002
A typically wonderful read from the great Virginia Woolf. While Jacob is on the one hand the centre of this book, he is also the enigma which the reader never quite finds. We hear many others talking of Jacob, but we catch only fleeting glimpses of Jacob himself, making this book a strange, at times disorientating read. This however, is clearly Woolf's intention, as she plays with notions of character, authorial omniscience, and coherent plotting. A great example of classic modernist fiction from one of Britain's most celebrated authors. If you are prepared for a challenging read, then buy this book- but prepare for your expectations of what constitutes a novel to be put under the spotlight.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Experimental, but still very good, 2 Oct 2011
I'm in a Woolf phase right now and came to this book after reading her later works: 'Mrs Dalloway', 'To the Lighthouse', 'Orlando' as well her non-fiction piece 'A Room of One's Own'. Although lacking the brilliance of these later works, 'Jacob's Room' is well worth a read if only to see Woolf starting out on the process of trying to dismantle the idea that novel = linear narrative, fully rounded characterisation, and an omniscient author.

I think 'Jacob's Room' is a very 'impressionistic' novel in that we get no concrete sense of who the main character, Jacob Flanders, is. As another reviewer has said, we only catch glimpses of him. There is no god-like omniscient author forever telling you what the character thinks or feels. (To me this reflects the increasingly godless modern world we live in.) Also, the dialogue in the novel is often disjointed and I think this reflects the atomised modern world we live in. I assume that by writing dialogue which lacks linearity and fluidity Woolf more truthfully reflects human to human interaction: it's often full of non-sequitors, fails to flow easily, is interrupted etc.

If you're prepared for a challenging read and want to see how Woolf got started on the process of challenging the then accepted norms of fiction wfiting - then buy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good - but not the best one to start with, 23 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Jacob's Room (Kindle Edition)
This is an excellent novel and leaves you gasping with admiration at Ms Woolf's wonderful prose. However, compared to her best work - Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, The Waves - it reads more like an experiment in prose. If you haven't yet read any Virginia Woolf, start with To the Lighthouse or Mrs Dalloway. Don't expect racy page turners but just wonderful language that reads like exquisite music. In my opinion, though, I think her diaries are her best work and well worth seeking out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange, 28 May 2013
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This review is from: Jacob's Room (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
I purchased this book for to broaden my war literature knowledge for English. Frankly, the book itself is very confusing and I gave up reading it which was a shame but the writing form is too complex for me to understand. I think that perhaps this book is for suited for university students who have a better grasp of different forms of writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars for any fans of woolf, 29 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Jacob's Room (Kindle Edition)
Woolf at her best. Engaging and a mystery. The characters become endearing yet untouchable in a true exploration of self.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The new modernist style, 4 Jun 2013
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Jacob's Room is VW's third novel (1922) and marks her departure from naturalism to modernism. A slim volume but a full one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars just ok, 12 May 2013
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This book in my honest opinion was just ok it was nothing special it i thought it would have been better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great buy, 14 Mar 2013
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Subtle and delicate. A beautiful investigation of desire, memory, character and place. Modern in the best sense of the word.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful novel, but missing inset songs, poems and quotations, 20 Jan 2013
By 
J. A. Allen "J-M A" (England, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Jacob's Room (Kindle Edition)
I absolutely love this novel, it's magical. Unfortunately the kindle edition being sold here is missing inset quotes/songs/poems from the characters so sometimes you might get

"""
"Ah," sighed Clara, who stood beside Jacob, half-way through.

sang Elsbeth Siddons.
"""
(Chapter 7, Loc 1037)

without ever discovering what she sang. It's a little sad, but not unforgivable (especially considering it's a free edition). I would use it to discover whether you like it and then investigate to see if any of the paid-for-but-cheap editions for Kindle are actually complete.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "...the bees home thick with gold, drowsy, humming, suddenly vocal;..", 17 Jan 2013
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jacob's Room (Paperback)
This excerpt from a letter sent by Woolf explaining something of her raison d'etre for writing Jacob's Room gives some context for the exceptionally fragmented and sometimes incoherent effect of her writing:
"The human soul, it seems to me, orientates itself afresh every now and then. It is doing so now. No one can see it whole, therefore. The best of us catch a glimpse of a nose, a shoulder, something turning away, always in movement. Still, it seems better to me to catch this glimpse, than to sit down with Hugh Walpole, Wells, etc. etc. and make large oil paintings of fabulous fleshy monsters complete from top to toe."

Thereby coming to one of the first examples of Virginia Woolf's oevre we see the something of the point of what she was about as a writer. Rejecting the "fabulous fleshy monsters" was part of an attempt to record a more realistic vision of consciousness, with all of its uncertainties, its fragmentation, even, it seems to the point of inconsequentiality. But who could say it was not a wholehearted attempt to get closer than usual to human experience. Yes it rejects the, to her, banal conventionalities of the novel - a breathtaking rejection that elects to do without the tyrannies of plot, of characterisation, even of story. It keeps theme only in the sense of its circle of attention upon one person, eventually, after the childhood sequence, upon Jacob. But Jacob only as he might be glimpsed, seen at a dinner party, out with his art-school girlfriend Florinda, the bedroom door opened, then closed on us. Woolf is a prude, perhaps understandably, due to the conventions of the time as well as her own experience of sexual abuse at the age of 13.

It is an extraordinary leap of faith for any writer to take and though it doesn't catch Woolf at the height of her powers (my own favourite is 'Mrs Dalloway' or possibly 'To The Lighthouse'), it is a step along the Modernist road she was determined that her writing must travel.
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Jacob's Room (Oxford World's Classics)
Jacob's Room (Oxford World's Classics) by Virginia Woolf (Paperback - 12 Jun 2008)
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