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Book Review | Mrs. Dalloway

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Have you read this yet? This is THE book for me when I am in need of some inspiration from writer's block.

The Basics

  • Book Title: Mrs. Dalloway

  • Author: Virginia Woolf

  • Genre: Classic Literary Fiction

  • Year: Written in 1925

  • Paperback Pages: 122

  • Available formats: Kindle, Audiobook, Paperback, Hardcover

  • Favorite or most memorable quotes: I have many. How much time do you have?

  • Favorite Character: I have 2. Peter Walsh and Richard Dalloway. Two very different men--also the two men who love Clarrisa.

  • Book Format: My preferred mode of reading is always

  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson. There are many narrators of this classic work, but Juliet Stevenson's performance is exquisite.

The Review

The book begins early in the morning, on the day that Clarissa Dalloway is having a party. Clarissa is essentially a closeted bisexual, probably an atheist, and definitely a snob. It is a June day in London in 1923. Her old friend Peter has just come back from India, and, after not seeing Clarissa for thirty years, finds that he is still in love with her.

This book follows a cast of several people and connects intimately with their every thought. It is my go-to whenever I have writer's block.

I first heard this book mentioned as a must-read in every author's lifetime. It was featured in a lecture on writing by Professor James Hynes. He is a professor and published novelist, who has taught classes at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the University of Michigan, The University of Texas, Miami University, and Grinnell College.

The novel, Mrs. Dalloway, has long been required reading for college classes and has earned a reputation for one of the most challenging reads of all time. In this work, Virginia Woolf does a few things which have all but been outlawed in the modern world of writing. That is to say, things which have been coined: 'Purple pros' and 'head-hopping.'' And, she does a lot of it. In fact, this style is how the whole book is done. But she does it so well.

I love it!

Her writing style is lush with detailed descriptions of what everyone thinks and feels almost all simultaneously--a technique commonly known as 'stream of consciousness.' Also widely known to be despised by people who are not particularly interested in reading.

If you are an aspiring writer, you should definitely get it. I've never acquired the paperback version, but the performance in the Audible book I chose, keeps me coming back for more. I must have listened to this book a couple of dozen times. Still, every time I listen to it again, I seem to get more understanding of the characters and the different ways they see the world around them.

If you're thinking about being a writer, pick up this book. It is the richest example I can think of, for the intimate Point of View style of writing.

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