The Waves – Virginia Woolf

What Virginia Woolf does to me by her books no author living or dead has been able to do. She with her poetry and creativity takes me to some outer world enchanting and free. My mind wanders and is lost in its beauty and is simply unable to find its way back to the present realities for some time. The Waves took me through that journey into the lives of six characters, their relationship with each other, and their outlook on life and death.

Through internal soliloquies and thoughts, six different characters tell us of their stories that begin in their childhood and stretch through their youth, adulthood, and old age. Their stories illuminate us of their struggle to understand their true identity which is cloaked by their surroundings – people and objects, and their intimacy with each other. Time, experience, and maturity make them realize that while they shape each other in certain ways, they are six different identities that are partly known and partly unknown to each other. On to this struggle is brought “death” – the enemy, with the premature demise of their young friend, Percival which forces the six to consider deeply the meaning of life against the newfound formidable foe.

The Waves is the most experimenting novel of Virginia Woolf. The use of internal soliloquies is a creative addition to her stream of consciousness. The inner soliloquies and thoughts of the characters through which they say their story is interrupted by nine interludes. These nine interludes with the use of metaphors and symbols from nature show the passage of time.

The beauty of Virginia Woolf’s books lies in her creativity and her language. The Waves I believe is the climax of her achievement. The whole composition is one poem. There is a lyrical beauty in every sentence. And it is also a painting with its colours. The tone is melancholy which suited the theme of the story. There is much symbology but the Sun and Waves are prominent. Sun was the beginning of hope – the life – the vitality. The Waves is the change – the continuation of life.

No one can write like Virginia Woolf. She overwhelms me with each book of hers in a way no other author can. She is a genius unparalleled.

Rating: 5/5

About the author

Piyangie Jay Ediriwickrema is an Attorney-at-Law by profession. Her devotion to literature has taken shape in reading and reviewing books of various genres set in different periods of time. She dabs at a little poetry and fiction of her own and hopes to share her work with the readers in the future.

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