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The Waves (1931)

by Virginia Woolf

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5,450741,966 (4.12)256
"I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me." Innovative and deeply poetic, The Waves is often regarded as Virginia Woolf's masterpiece. It begins with six children-three boys and three girls-playing in a garden by the sea, and follows their lives as they grow up, experience friendship and love, and grapple with the death of their beloved friend Percival. Instead of describing their outward expressions of grief, Woolf draws her characters from the inside, revealing their inner lives: their aspirations, their triumphs and regrets, their awareness of unity and isolation.… (more)
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» See also 256 mentions

English (68)  Spanish (2)  Chinese, simplified (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
" How much better is silence; the coffee-cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee-cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself. Do not come and worry me with your hints that it is time to shut the shop and be gone. I would willingly give all my money that you should not disturb me but let me sit on and on, silent, alone."

By all means, let me alone to sit in silence and read Virginia Woolf.
  estragon73 | Jul 2, 2024 |
This plot-less exploration of lifetime friendships and the fluidity of the characters from childhood to old age offers a deeply involving if difficult reading experience. Woolf's lyrical writing and colors, nature, animals, meals, made it worthwhile and it's best to let [b:The Waves|46114|The Waves|Virginia Woolf|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1439492320l/46114._SY75_.jpg|6057263] wash over the reader without trying too hard to parse meaning. Play-like, [a:Woolf Virginia|19441669|Woolf Virginia|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png] takes on identity, mortality, and friendship: in six characters who are perhaps one character based on the author. Bernard, the writer with his phrases, is our anchor, and Louis, is "stone-carved, sculpturesque; Neville, scissor-cutting, exact; Susan with eyes like lumps of crystal; Jinny dancing like a flame, febrile, hot, over dry earth; and Rhoda the nymph of the fountain always wet." The bonds and points of view shift in the soliloquies. There is no dialogue.
I think one of the most enjoyable reviews is Fionnuala's https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3219885-the-waves.
I want to read more Woolf, this is said to be the most challenging of her books.

"I felt leap up that old impulse, which has moved me all my life, to be thrown up and down on the roar of other people's voices, singing the same song; to be tossed up and down on the roar of almost senseless merriment, sentiment, triumph, desire."

"Some people go to priests, others to poetry; I to my friends, I to my own heart, I to seek among phrases and fragments something unbroken--I to whom there is not beauty enough in moon or tree; to whom the touch of one person with another is all, yet who cannot grasp even that, who am so imperfect, so weak, so unspeakably lonely. There I sat."
Quarantined. ( )
  featherbooks | May 7, 2024 |
This is one of the few experimental novels that I truly love. In my copy from college I think I underlined every other sentence. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
Woolf's words are magic and filled with such true beauty and melancholy. Finally reading her later in life continues to be a revelation. ( )
  RatGrrrl | Dec 20, 2023 |
I've never read anything like this but it was so impressive. It was also challenging, frustrating, and required great attention. But the pay off was so worth it. It took me years to really understand how to read Virginia Woolf but I am in awe of her now. She had a brilliant mind and a great talent. She just requires your full attention to every sentence and that was a skill that took time for me to develop, but she has fully won me over with this book. ( )
  Iudita | Nov 21, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (65 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Woolf, Virginiaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
BascoveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bell, VanessaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bosch, AndrésTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bosse-Sporleder, MariaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flint, KateEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, AngelicaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hussey, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oliver, Maria AntòniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parsons, DeborahIntroduction and Notessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodrigues, LucíliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wajsbrot, CécileTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The sun had not yet risen.
The sun had not yet risen. The sea was indistinguishable from the sky, except that the sea was slightly creased as if a cloth had wrinkles in it. Gradually as the sky whitened a dark line lay on the horizon dividing the sea from the sky and the grey cloth became barred with thick strokes moving, one after another, beneath the surface, following each other, pursuing each other, perpetually.”
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
There is nothing staid, nothing settled in this universe. All is rippling, all is dancing; all is quickness and triumph.
Percival has died (he died in Egypt; he died in Greece; all deaths are one death).
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"I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me." Innovative and deeply poetic, The Waves is often regarded as Virginia Woolf's masterpiece. It begins with six children-three boys and three girls-playing in a garden by the sea, and follows their lives as they grow up, experience friendship and love, and grapple with the death of their beloved friend Percival. Instead of describing their outward expressions of grief, Woolf draws her characters from the inside, revealing their inner lives: their aspirations, their triumphs and regrets, their awareness of unity and isolation.

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Desde 1931, año de su publicación, Las olas ha sido considerada una de las obras capitales del presente siglo, tanto por la original belleza de su prosa como por la perfección de su revolucionaria técnica, y, con el paso de los años, su influencia sobre la literatura contemporánea ha ido acrecentándose. La novela desarrolla, al compás del batir de las olas en la playa, seis monólogos interiores, a veces discrepantes y aislados, otras veces casi en coloquio concordante, en los que se formulan, desde su infancia hasta sus últimos años, seis vidas múltiples y dispares.
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