Review: The Waves by Virginia Woolf

The Waves by Virginia Woolf

My Goodreads rating – 3 out of 5 stars


The Waves is a short novel that follows the lives of six friends; Bernard, Neville, Louis, Jinny, Susan, and Rhoda. We follow them from their first meeting in their childhood through to middle-age, with each section of the novel corresponding to a different time in the friends’ lives.

This was my first time reading Virginia Woolf, and I loved her writing. She writes in such a beautiful way, which is very poetic, and I would say that I did feel like I was reading an extended poem rather than novel.

Even though I did really enjoy reading this book, I never found myself desperate to pick it back up once I’d put it down. It took me nearly a week to read it, which is quite a long time, considering it’s only around 160 pages. I think the main thing that slowed me down was the structure. Woolf herself said that when writing The Waves, she was “writing to a rhythm not to a plot”, and so this was quite a difficult read, and I did find myself reading through the SparkNotes study guide to help me understand the writing a bit better.

I liked this book, but I think I would have enjoyed it so much more if I’d have read it at school or university and had some guidance, or if I’d read some critical essays on it, so I would have understood the writing so much more. I would definitely like to read more of Virginia Woolf though; if you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments 🙂

3 thoughts on “Review: The Waves by Virginia Woolf

  1. midnightmusings100 says:

    I just finished The Waves now, I also thought that it was a novel that needed to be read as a poem in many respects. However, not sure how much I enjoyed it…often the very lyrical language would just wash over me and I wouldn’t really pay attention to what Woolf was actually writing. I would absolutely recommend Mrs Dalloway, I’m not the biggest fan of Woolf but I really do love that book! Though, I think the more appropriate recommendation for Woolf would be ‘To the Lighthouse’.

    Liked by 1 person

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