I have, over the years read a lot of books by Virginia Woolf. My favorite is still ‘Orlando’ her love letter to Vita.
This small book is a very different work to that, as it is set mainly within the realms of her reality at the time.
The first story is of someone looking at a friend or is it their own reflection (as my mother suggested) through the window of a looking glass, the description of this view is so perfect, all appears so still like some sort of parallel universe really, the genius of Virginia Woolf is seeing the depth within the minutia of life. within this short story we get to glimpse a whole lifetime of the woman described.
I wasn’t too sure what the story ‘A Society’ was deriving at but it seemed to be questioning the notion; more so at the time but still prevalent today, that man is the superior intellect. This took an almost sarcastic stance at pointing out the error of this notion.
The story I enjoyed most was ‘The Mark on the wall’ this is a perfect example of how a little whimsy took Ms Woolf to the fundamentals of life… the way she let her mind flow, from merely gazing at a blob on the wall…
The last story ‘Lappin and Lapinova’ looks at marriage and the illusions we use to keep them intact.
Here are a couple of the memorable lines from the book:
‘People should not leave looking glasses hanging in their rooms any more than they should leave open cheque books or letters confessing some hideous crime.’
‘If she concealed so much and knew so much one must prize her open with the first tool that came to hand – the imagination.’