I did it. I finished the book.
... and I have no idea what I just read. Fuck.
Okay, let me correct that--I have some idea, but it has very little to do with the content of the book. I just understand the basis in which the book was written on. It's partly a satirical biography. Virginia Woolf writes as a typical male biographer in that age. She presents sexist arguments (as this biographer) and then completely demolishes them with her (admittedly groundbreaking) characters.
Honestly, her writing is downright hilarious sometimes. I complained a lot about the purple prose early on in the novel. Most of the time, she wrote in that style to highlight Orlando's thought processes. Orlando was a poet, and often conceived some really ridiculous metaphors. As Orlando grew older, this lessened.
Sadly, though, toward the end of the novel, the prose picked back up. As Woolf tried to highlight the changes and events, she sort of overstepped the description and made it purposely ambiguous. I'm struggling to really come to a conclusion here.( Collapse )
To my knowledge, the relevance in this book to myself is Orlando's transformation and related points thereafter. ( Collapse )
The other thing is the purpose of the book. I mean. What, exactly, was gained in this excerpt of Orlando's life? I missed the symbolism in the final lines. (Something about a wild turkey?) I did understand that she finally came to some conclusion on life and love. These were questions that plagued her since her childhood. Upon the oak tree, waiting for her husband to return, I think it all sort of came together. Ecstasy. Not fame, not glory, not titles, not wealth. Ecstasy. Her happiness. And her happiness was in nature, literature and her husband.
As for what I personally took from this book... not a whole lot. It was an interesting read, but a bloated one.
True to life, Orlando repeated many experiences within the book to the point where it was really a bummer to read. She had to dine out with nobles a thousand times before she finally, irrevocably decided that lifestyle wasn't for her. (And thank god, because those were some boring scenes....)
Then, her musing. Whenever she experienced a misfortune (Sasha, Nick, you name it) she would brood. And while eventually her conclusion served as a conclusion for the book itself, the musing was so repetitious that I barely managed through it. It was just too much.
I think the most enjoyable scenes were the conclusions. When she decides to write for her own happiness; when she becomes secure in her identity; when she realizes what life and love are. The way these individual scenes wrapped themselves up were enjoyable. More enjoyable than the ending, in fact.
I might consider reading this again in the future. It'd have to be out of my own volition. I do feel like I had the book forced on me, which limited my enjoyment of it. In a couple years, I'll pick it up under happier circumstances and see what's changed. 'Til then, I believe this is the entirety of my review.