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 🙂