Monday, September 14, 2009

12. "Between the Acts" by Virginia Woolf

Woolf, Virginia. Between the Acts. San Diego: Harcourt Inc., 1941.
219 pages
Reviewed by J. d’Artagnan Love

Between the Acts
was the last book Virginia Woolf wrote before her suicide in 1941. It is a story about a family in England who hosts a play at their country home to raise money for the church. The plot covers the play itself as well as the interactions and happenings, as the title suggests, between the acts. There are several unhappy characters making connections with other equally unhappy characters and a lot of implied scandal that never comes to fruition.

I am usually a huge Virginia Woolf fan. She is my favorite writer, and this is the first of her novels that I’ve been disappointed by. Keeping in mind that she died before she was able to make revisions, the characters seemed to lack the motivation and depth Woolf had so frequently achieved in her earlier novels. The plot moved slowly, very slowly, and nothing really seemed to happen. The depiction of character interactions was dull and simplistic.

Maybe this is the effect Woolf was going for. Maybe she wished to illustrate how mundane life can be. If that was the goal, it sure didn’t make for good reading. This is not her best work and I would recommend Orlando or Mrs. Dalloway over Between the Acts in a heartbeat.

1.5 darts out of 5

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