Set on the coast of England against the vivid background of the sea, The Waves introduces six characters—three men and three women—who are grappling with the death of a beloved friend, Percival. Instead of describing their outward expressions of grief, Virginia Woolf draws her characters from the inside, revealing them through their thoughts and interior soliloquies. As their understanding of nature’s trials grows, the chorus of narrative voices blends together in miraculous harmony, remarking not only on the inevitable death of individuals but on the eternal connection of everyone. The novel that most epitomizes Virginia Woolf’s theories of fiction in the working form, The Waves is an amazing book very much ahead of its time. It is a poetic dreamscape, visual, experimental, and thrilling.
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