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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful - but not for the uninitiated!
In my view this is Woolf's best book. It is less of a novel as one usually expects - more a 300-page poem in prose form. The key to reading the book is to simply let the words flow over you - don't try to decipher the literal meaning of every sentence, just enjoy the sensations that their shape and texture give you. Ostensibly about the lives of five friends from...
Published on 1 Aug 2000

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Really struggling
Cannot, cannot, cannot get into this book. With the rhyme format I feel myself following the lyrical not the story
Published 2 months ago by K. King


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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful - but not for the uninitiated!, 1 Aug 2000
By A Customer
In my view this is Woolf's best book. It is less of a novel as one usually expects - more a 300-page poem in prose form. The key to reading the book is to simply let the words flow over you - don't try to decipher the literal meaning of every sentence, just enjoy the sensations that their shape and texture give you. Ostensibly about the lives of five friends from birth to death, the book can actually be interpreted as an attempt by Woolf to delve deep into various facets of her own psyche, and a sharp reader will doubtless notice many of their own deepest psychological experiences in there.
A word of warning - don't try it if you've never read Woolf before. This is Woolf at her most abstract and esoteric. Try Mrs. Dalloway or Orlando first to get used to her style, then perhaps To The Lighthouse, before you try this. But for those who read the book with the right approach, the rewards are enormous, and indeed potentially life-changing.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, difficult, Woolf's masterpiece, 22 May 1999
By A Customer
This novel must invent its own narrative form to speak, and does; Woolf perfects her own poetics through the voices of six characters as we follow them from infancy to death, all in the course of a day. But the novel is not merely a formal or stylistic exercise in describing the world: it is one of the twentieth century's most moving accounts of the mostly unspoken, largely unspeakable shock at there being a world at all.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to be read out loud, 30 April 2009
By 
Marco Colombo (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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The Waves follows the lives of six friends from childhood to adulthood. There is no dialogue, but we follow the innermost thought of each of the characters. This provides a unique experience, different from that of any other books I've read: it can be (barely) summed up as a collection of intertwined monologues. As such, it's somewhat closer to a theatre play than a novel. I suggest it to read it out loud: only then, Woolf's delicate and precise choice of words (and sounds) can be fully appreciated.

As any other novel by Virginia Woolf, this book can be daunting, and the lack of explicit dialogue can make it fell more so. However, it's an enriching emotional experience.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books I've Ever Read, 20 Mar 2009
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I. M. Knight (Huddersfield, England) - See all my reviews
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Possibly one of the best books I've ever read. This is writing at its most skilled, incorporating excellent ideas about life, death and being. I found that rather than reading the book and deliberating over every word, I let the book read me. This is a very enlightening read, when read like this. Unusually, I also found this an easier read than `To the Lighthouse'.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was, but not now., 2 Aug 2004
By 
Dr. D. Tracy (London) - See all my reviews
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Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?
She was an author I had put off reading for some time now, for reasons I'm not sure I fully understand, but having finally got around to reading her once, I'm looking forward to a second chance.
For the first time in a long time, I have found myself shocked by a book. By the style as well as the substance. I remember an old friend describing the first time he heard 'Sunshine of your love' by Cream in the sixties and how he thought 'I didn't know you could do that, make that sound with a guitar'. Reading this book shocked me out of the complacency of what a novel could be or achieve.
In a stream of consciousness narrative, echoing the tide's waxing and waning over a single day, the novel follows the life of six friends from childhood to old age. It's a novel of feeling and sound, emotive more than cognitive. Poignant, halcyonic, melancholic - like it's author. A wonderful poetic gift that needs to be felt. A book to return to again and again.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars cutting and revolutionary, 6 Nov 2002
By 
Nicholas - See all my reviews
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This is the first virginia woolf book that I have had the fortune to read, and I must comment that I was blown away by it's fantastically original style. It reads to me as a beautiful at times haunting long poem, that never ceases to enage the reader. The story is based around 7 individuals and documents their lives from children to adults. The book can be a little confusing at times due to the nature of it's content, but the sheer beauty of the words carries it through it's weaker moments. So lovely I might even read it again.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stream of consciousness, 15 Jan 2009
The Waves is a stream of consciousness describing thoughts of a group of schoolmates throughout their lives. The molonologues start as they go to school together and alternate from one friend to another. There's also a non-talking character who is very important to the others but we never know what he's thinking.

The prologues at the beginning of each chapter mark the different stages in the freinds' live: from sunraise to sunset. The waves motive represents the different thoughts and feelings that go up and down and the live experiences that are also up and down the shore, just like the waves.

The book is generally very difficult to read: follow Woolf's thoughts was sometimes impossible for me. But don't give up, after a lot of emotional talking, there always is a factual information which aligns the plot. Her language is fabulous, although the meaning at times obscure.
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4.0 out of 5 stars WOOLFS MASTERWORK, 14 July 2014
BUY THE TIME THIS BK APPEARED WOOLF HAD EXPERIENCED MANY PSYCHOTIC EPISODES.HER MENTAL ILLNESS IS CLEAR IN THIS WORK AND IS IN MY OPION HER BEST.THE CURRENT EXIBITION AT NPG HAS MANUSCRIPTS OF WOOLFS HANDWRITING V SMALL AND SCRATCHY.A VG EXIBITION IF U LIKE WOOLF AND THE BLOOMSBURY SET.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Really struggling, 15 May 2014
By 
K. King - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Cannot, cannot, cannot get into this book. With the rhyme format I feel myself following the lyrical not the story
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars made a great birthday present, 14 Jan 2011
this is a great book that i would recommend to anyone who wants something a bit different. a bit difficult to get into but that doesn't stop it being a classic.
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The Waves (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Virginia Woolf)
The Waves (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Virginia Woolf) by Virginia Woolf (Hardcover - 24 Feb 2011)
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