In this vivid portrait of a single day in a woman's life, Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway is preoccupied with the last-minute details of party preparation-fresh flower shopping, new dress buying, and festive room decorating-while in her mind she is something much more than a perfect society hostess. As she readies her house for friends and neighbors, she is flooded with remembrances of faraway times-the passionate loves of her carefree youth, her practical decision to marry her conservative, reasonable husband, the approach and retreat of war's confusion. And, met with the realities of the present, Clarissa reexamines the choices that brought her there, hesitantly looking ahead to the unfamiliar work of growing old.
This revelatory and experimental novel melts together the past, the present, and visions of the future in each and every moment, revealing the personal and social nuances that give Mrs. Dalloway its memorable richness and depth. From the introspective Clarissa, to the lover who never fully recovered from her rejection, to a war-ravaged stranger in the park, each character exposes the daily events and constant interactions that connect them with the rest of humanity. Heralded as Woolf's greatest work of fiction, Mrs. Dalloway is not only a thorough rendering of a vivid human life, it is the outline on paper of human consciousness.
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
October 28, 2002
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