Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a wonderful book! It is round, deep, fresh, sophisticated, daring, tragedy and comedy, has wit and humour…it’s mesmerizing. Reading "Mrs. Dalloway" is like looking at a Picasso’s portrait, with its many surfaces (un)matching within an imagine that is far away from perfection, from the Divine Proportion. But if you come closer and look attentive at each detail, shadow, and perspective, you are overwhelmed by the beauty of all meaning. Mrs. Dalloway and her own nemesis, Septimius Warren Smith, are actually the human being in all its depth. In its splendour and futility, its happiness and fears, its hopes and disappointments, in its struggle with the transient condition of the mortal soul.
The style is splendid. It has the madness and sweetness of a dream; it is equivocal, but perfectly balanced. The passage between voices, memories, images, and moments is magnificently pointed by the hours, by the almighty sounds of the Big Ben. Everything has middle, and what is next is only the reflection of the past. The symbols and metaphors are subtly used and the references to Shakespeare and Ulysses are smartly placed in the text. Nothing is too obvious or too explicit.
But beside all the ambiguous and contradictory characters, we also have London, the imperial town hit by the hot wave of midsummer. We have its streets and squares, its houses with their opened windows. It is a sensorial abundance of views, sounds, colours, smells. London is vivid and alive despite the disillusionment with what once upon a time was The British Empire, and with… life.
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