Synopsis: Virginia Woolf is living in London in 1923, and is beginning to write and work on the now-famous, Mrs. Dalloway. Concurrently, a woman in Los Angeles in 1949, finds herself unhappy after three years of marriage with her husband. Despite this, she is trying her best to be a good wife and a soon-to-be-mother. One day, she picks up Woolf's novel, and begins to read. In it, she finds herself getting lost, as she sees the parallels and similarities between her life and the story. Meanwhile, in present time, there is 52-year-old, Clarissa Vaughan, a self-proclaimed modern version of "Mrs. Dalloway." She is preparing a party dedicated to her former lover -- a poet -- who is now dying of AIDS.
This book surrounds three completely different women, leading very different lives and having their own different stories. In the end, they find that their lives are touched and interwoven together across time, by one powerful and important novel.
Review: First of all, this, no doubt, has an intriguing premise and offers a unique perspective on things.
With clarity and sincerity, the author makes a genuine take on common people, like us, and their ordinary lives, through multifaceted characters. It is really not at all difficult to relate to them, not exactly because of their situations, but mainly for the emotions that they feel and the thoughts that they ponder on. I realize that, everybody feels and thinks about these things. Some, more often than others. And this book, simply, shows that sadness -- that depressing -- side of life, that everybody goes through at one point or another.
As for the writing, I thought that the author did a great job showcasing his talent and skill appropriately, by perfecting the book's pace and flow. Also, he made it all work through his poetic but effortless wordplay. It was simple and easy to grasp, but on-point and complex. It also just had the right amount of drama and emotion, without getting too corny, sappy, or cliche.
I have to admit though, there were a few negative things about the novel. There were few, but they're there nonetheless. I found that at times, it was difficult to figure out who's narrating. The speaker changes constantly, and their voices are not as distinct the way their personalities are, in my opinion.
Also, I have heard a lot from people (friends, family, other reviews) that they did not enjoy this one. One reason is probably because of its dark and "depressive" mood and atmosphere. Also, another possible reason, would be that at times, there were a few lengthy, and even unnecessary, descriptions every now and then. Some people don't mind the long descriptions, others do.
Despite this, I still do recommend it. I also would give it 4 stars -- definitely an entertaining and emotional read, but not "You-have-to-read-this-now!" sort of great. It is more of a "Add-this-to-your-TBR-if-you'd-like" kind of good. I guess though, in a way, this is just one of those books that you either like or you don't. Personally, I liked it.