“With intermittent shocks sudden as the springs of a tiger, life emerges heaving its dark crest from the sea” – Virginia Woolf, The Waves
The Waves is a brilliant and beautiful novel. In a simple summary, the novel follows the story of six childhood friends through growing up and growing old. Which doesn’t even begin to cover the beauty of the storytelling and prose of one of Virginia Woolf’s most impressive works. Each of the six voices created by Woolf, are expressive and unique of their own characteristics and personalities, and work perfectly with the stream of consciousness writing style. Though this style isn’t for everyone, it adds to the rhythm and flow of the novel, and establishes a similar feel of waves crashing and lapping at the shore.
I first attempted reading The Waves, last summer (2013), and was not successful at all. Partly, I wonder if that’s because I started it to soon after I had finished finals. And as an English Major, I find that when I spend most of my year analyzing and doing required reading, all I want to do is read fluff or beach reads for the first few weeks of summer vacation. I had originally picked up a copy of The Waves from a second-hand bookstore because, besides hearing that it’s a wonderful book and must read for literature fans, it was also on a list of NYLON magazine’s summer reads. A magazine, that I have been reading religiously since the tenth grade.
Anyways, back to The Waves, I wasn’t able to finish it last summer. My brain was not quite ready for the stream of consciousness prose. So, I put it aside and switched it to my 2014 – summer reading list on goodreads. This summer I was determined to read it. And I did. I made sure to wait a month or two before attempting to read it and before I knew it I was soaking up the wonderful voices of Susan, Jinny, Rhonda, Louis, Neville and Bernard.