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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 20 March 2009
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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on 24 March 2016
I expect to re-read “The Waves” (1931), in part because its (Modernist) difficulty is likely to release new meanings, rather than confirm assumptions or provide reassurance, but also because as its six characters get older and, in their interspersed monologues, contemplate death so they seem to matter more and move beyond their very irritating youthful characters.

Even after one reading, though, I would say that while “The Waves” is acute on time, it relegates the social and historical insights that occur from time to time, and, to my surprise, at least, emerge much more unerringly in “Mrs Dalloway” (1925) and “To the Lighthouse” (1927). Possibly, this is because Virginia Woolf sticks, mostly, to the perspectives (and the narrowness of political outlook) of Bernard, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Jinny, and Louis; but, equally, it could be because of Woolf’s allegiance to the values of nature announced in the title and pursued doggedly, as well as through the unnamed third-person narrator who follows the rhythm of one day even as the six named characters go through to middle-age. This allegiance to nature or natural reality is quite deliberate on Woolf’s part and distinguishes “The Waves” from “To the Lighthouse”, which, in some respects, it resembles. Whereas in “To the Lighthouse”, for all its Modernist interest in consciousness, there is a concern with how people inter-relate in society, in “The Waves” “the contact of with one another” is “strange” for the characters. Almost in spite of her metaphysical interests, though, there are so many wonderful passages in “The Waves” when society – and particularly London society -- presses upon the more worldly of the six characters that there is an even greater novel shadowing the novel that Virginia Woolf has written.
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on 22 May 2016
I will not repeat other peoples words praising Virginia Woolf's The Waves. For I truly love the woman, her style and her stories.

I have only one MAJOR complaint about this edition. Even if I am very lucky, not having too many people around me who can spoil the story for me(they read modern junk), this book actually spoiled itself.
The Wordsworth editions are usually lined with numbered references which are very useful for understanding the context of current events, people you've never heard of etc. But one of the notes in this edition, spoiled a major change in the book before it had happened.

Buy it for the story, do NOT read note #50.
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on 16 June 2015
It is hard to describe this book. It is poetry as prose. It follows five people from childhood through to adulthood, running in the same style as waves as they are lapping against a beach, as the tide comes in and goes out.

You need to concentrate at the beginning to find how the language and words pull you in, but you are subtley included and drawn in the the text and the "mysticism" it encapsulates. It is the first book by Virginia Woolf that I have read and it wont be the last.
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on 15 January 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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on 8 April 2015
Not for the faint hearted reader! The style of writing and the the format of the book are something quite different. Here you will find in analysis of the psyche which scratches beneath the surface to reveal the subjects as they are, rather than as they would wish to appear. The chronological approach emphasizes changes - one is constantly asking what is genetic, what is learned? As an in depth writing the book is interesting - there are brilliant passages, some a little abstract.
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on 3 October 2014
This was tricky to read, but definitely worth finishing. It is written in a stream of consciousness style which can be disconcerting. However, it is worth persevering with as there are a number of interesting comments on life within. Although it is certainly not easy to read, it is one that you will be pleased you have completed.
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on 14 July 2014
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on 18 January 2017
Crazy good book. Studied for my English degree, and this book had me absolutely gripped. A complex narrative, well-developed characters that could have only been written by Woolf. Overtakes Mrs Dalloway in my opinion. Love it!
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on 31 August 2014
It's poetry. Amazing insight into minds of characters easily and immediately conveyed to the reader. Should appeal to anyone interested in the Bloomsbury Group.
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