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Tony Grist

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The Novel Takes A Wrong Turn [May. 6th, 2004|08:59 am]
Tony Grist

This just came my way. It's a quote from Virginia Woolf.

"Characters are to be merely views: personality must be avoided at all costs."

I guess she was reacting against the Victorian novel and in accordance with what she knew about modern Psychology, but character is one of the things that makes you want to keep turning the page. The Waves is beautifully written, but the absence of characters (instead you have a set of virtually indistinguishable points of view) makes it almost unreadable.


[User Picture]From: catvalente
2004-05-06 06:33 am (UTC)
I love The Waves. Nearly a perfect book, to my mind...I wouldn't say the POVs are indistinguishable at all.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-05-06 10:57 am (UTC)
It was a university set book. That skewed me against it. Can you ever love a book that you've been compelled to read? Like I say, I found it very beautiful and that's what got me through to the end.

I remember all the characters having this ethereal quality. It was hard to imagine them having bodies. And they were all living the life of the mind like fuck. I remember the beginning- with its pristine images of childhood- and the ending (o Death!) but everything in the middle is a blur. At one point there is a woman pruning roses- right? I've held onto her because she reminded me- distantly- of my grandmother in her English cottage garden.
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[User Picture]From: catvalente
2004-05-06 06:48 pm (UTC)
Well, the middle is largely taken up with Percival, the friend who dies.

I wasn't forced to read it, I loved it, life of the mind is A OK by me.
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