Book Review: Mrs Dalloway


Society hostess, Clarissa Dalloway is giving a party. Her thoughts and sensations on that one day, and the interior monologues of others whose lives are interwoven with hers gradually reveal the characters of the central protagonists. Clarissa’s life is touched by tragedy as the events in her day run parallel to those of Septimus Warren Smith, whose madness escalates as his life draws toward inevitable suicide.


You’d think with someone’s rambling thoughts you’d get bored reading them right? For some reason, not in this instance to begin with.

Reading this novel was like sitting in a coffee shop watching people go about their day whilst you’re sitting there wondering what each person passing by is up to, or as some would say; never getting off the carousel.

We just go from one thought to the next on this day-dream train of thoughts of Mrs. D.

The way everything is captured beautifully such as that feeling you get when your mind is in that state of confusion and hasn’t yet taken the time to process that thought:

“ But-but-why did she suddenly feel, for no reason that she could discover, desperately unhappy? As a person who has dropped some grain of pearl or diamond into the grass and parts the two blades very carefully, this way and that, and searches here and there vainly, and at last spies it there at the roots, so she went through one thing and another; no, it was not Sally Seton saying that Richard would never be in the Cabinet because he had a second-class brain (it came back to her); no, she did not mind that; nor was it to do with Elizabeth… it was a feeling, some unpleasant feeling earlier in the day; perhaps something that Peter had said, combined with some depression of her own, in her bedroom, taking off her hat; and what Richard had said had added to it, but what had he said? There were his roses. Her parties! That was it! Her parties! Both of them criticised her very unfairly l, laughed at her very unjustly.

The passage I think also uncovers something interesting about Clarissa, why do Peter’s comments about her being the perfect hostess bother her so much? She often claims to be so fortunate to marry a man that lets her be independent and so forth. But I feel like she is rationalising herself.

Nicely written, in a day-dream however no real sense of purpose.

2/5 Stars


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