Monday, October 21, 2013

Book Report Monday: The Voyage Out

Title: The Voyage Out

Author: Virginia Woolf

Genre: Literary Fiction

Synopsis: Woolf’s first novel is a haunting book, full of light and shadow. It takes Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose and their niece, Rachel, on a sea voyage from London to a resort on the South american coast. 

“It is a strange, tragic, inspired book whose scene is a South americanca not found on any map and reached by a boat which would not float on any sea, an americanca whose spiritual boundaries touch Xanadu and Atlantis” (E. M. Forster). 

(From Goodreads)

Why did I pick it up?: I have a collection of her novels and short stories on my nook and I intend to make my way through them all eventually. The Voyage Out was first.

Favorite Line: "Did love begin that way, with the wish to go on talking?”

My Review: After living a sheltered life with her Aunts in England and occasionally on board her father's ships, Rachel Vinrace journeys to South America with her Aunt and Uncle. At twenty-four she's in danger of becoming an old maid and every man she meets is evaluated as a potential husband. 

While still on the ship Rachel is kissed by an excited Mr. Dalloway. At first she's excited believing, "something wonderful had happened" and feels that all the possibilities are laid out before her for the first time. But later the memory of the passion disturbs her and causes nightmares of barbarian men hunting for her. It's not clear to me whether it was guilt for given herself over the the baser instincts which women should not do or from anxiety the physical intimacy of her future which she seems to only just realize. 

Afterwards Rachel continues to approach the idea of love and marriage without much passion or thrill. Once she has a suitor, she considers marriage and decides it is not for love, but so the couple can renounce the real world and essentially hide in their marriage. 

It's worth noting that Woolf's first novel, The Voyage Out, has much less stream of consciousness narratives and dream-states which she is known for in her later works. So if you've ever read a novel of her's and that frustrated you, you might enjoy this one.

Recommendation: If you liked To the Lighthouse, you should like this too. There are a lot of parallels. 

For Next Week: Allegiant by Veronica Roth


Post a Comment