Curator Reviews

Carrie Brownstein

An impressionistic, experimental novel that is filled with an immense and delicate beauty. Told in soliloquies, the book explores a vast and tender interior landscape.

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William Finnegan

“The waves fell; withdrew and fell again, like the thud of a great beast stamping.” Woolf’s strangest book by far, a cascade of gorgeous monologues, six friends meeting over the course of their lives. The characters emerge through their voices, through the eyes of the others. Each suffers separately. Loss, loneliness, depression vibrate on the page, among the indelible images, all within a frame of stunning brief descriptions of the sun’s passage and the sea’s pounding. It’s partly the twilight of the British Empire, but mostly a brooding meditation on language and love. Bernard, the writer, delivers the great summation. Nothing happens except life.

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Francois Ozon

I love the structure of The Waves, which I read in my twenties: to make a portrait of someone who is dead, in which each character has their own point of view, felt truly radical. It’s reminiscent of the Mankiewicz movie, The Barefoot Contessa, but like Marcel Proust she is a writer who would be very difficult to adapt in movies. Neither of them are as concerned with story as they are with feelings, sensations.

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