Goodreads: Mrs. Dalloway
As Clarissa Dalloway prepares for a party, the inhabitants of London go about their daily lives. An old lover returns from India. A World War I veteran suffers the aftershocks of battle. A history teacher reflects on her old life and her new religion. The lives and thoughts of the characters intersect to form a portrait of postwar Britain.
Mrs. Dalloway eschews plot in order to focus on the ways in which thought and reflection shape the world around us. On the outside, it appears that very little happens within the novel; the book simply follows various characters throughout a day on which Mrs. Dalloway prepares to give a party. Within, however, the characters go through turmoil, reliving the past, contemplating the future, and attempting to make sense of their present.
Few definitive facts stand out. Rather, Woolf presents the unfolding of events and the depiction of individuals through the eyes of her characters. Thus, Mrs. Dalloway’s estimation of her character and her values stands juxtaposed with the assessments of her husband, a former lover, her daughter’s friend, and more. Readers begin to see that the world, for the characters, is often colored more by their perceptions than what really is.
Experimental in nature, Mrs. Dalloway will appeal to readers who enjoy modern authors and stream-of-conscious methods. Those accustomed to tightly knit plots and neat endings may find less to attract them, but Mrs. Dalloway remains a modern classic and well worth a read, at least once.
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