I’ll open with a confession: I don’t really care for stream-of-consciousness style of writing, and this book was a lot of that.
This book is about a particular group of people (centrally the Ramsay family) at a particular point in time, and then the family again, a few years later on another day. Woolf primarily goes from person to person as the day progresses, detailing their inner monologue.
In fairness, there are moments when I think Woolf really captures how one’s thoughts can jump so quickly between being happy with another person and then feeling so distant the next. We are all paradoxes, and there are some lovely passages in this book that feel really true.
However, I didn’t really enjoy reading this book. I enjoy stories and books with a bit more plot. I’m fine reading about the thoughts of characters as a part of a story, but I don’t want a book almost wholly composed of those thoughts.
It was exhausting to me to keep jumping from person to person, hearing their sometimes self-indulgent thoughts, and I wanted to know more about what happened in the time between the two days. The first day is before World War II, and the second day after. In between these times, several characters die in asides in the brief middle passage, with not much notice taken, which is interesting in one sense, and maddening in another.
I’d love to hear from someone who enjoys Woolf, and this book in particular, to see what I’m missing, or what appealed to them.