The Years

by Virginia Woolf | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by BookGroupMan of Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on 9/17/2003
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 17, 2003
My oldest 'to-be-read' as at March'07 - she's a toughie to read, but worth persevering i've found.

Journal Entry 2 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, April 02, 2007
(This book is quite old and frail - aren't we all(!) - so I will keep on my shelf unless someone specifically asks for it)

Review:

This is not VW at her best; over-long, over-blown and not very reader-friendly IMHO. This family drama started quite promisingly, introducing the Pargiter family, the disabled father Colonel, the sick mother and various children with emerging characters and relationships.

We meet up with members of the extended family from 1880 through the 1914-1918 war to the ‘present day’, which I assume was the 30’s(?), as the brothers & sisters and children, grand-children and cousins age. Each section is, I’m sure, meant to act as a self-contained episode with a constant familial thread running through. Unfortunately I could never really engage with any of the characters, worried that they would disappear never to be seen again, be replaced by a child, get re-located to somewhere else in London, or even get a new name, vis Eleanor/Nell, Sara/Sally, Margaret/Maggie/Peggie!

If you like Woolf’s writing, which I do, there are plenty of her trademarks; the obvious love of London and the changing seasons, the dreamlike stream of consciousness monologues and the insights into class, love, and historical & cultural threads. But, for the casual reader it’s all a bit shapeless, complex and self-indulgent.

I found this very good and thorough review at nytimes.com, but it has since become a subscription service :(

Anyway, it included, 'So far as the book is a chronicle of family life, we must note that it has a perfect beginning and a perfect end, and almost no middle. In the meantime, events happen, and they are arbitrarily selected...these are pictures, vividly painted but without a frame, unless one's own experience supplies one.'

Which is sort of what I was trying to say ;)

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