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Large Print Reviews

Night and Day
By Virginia Woolf

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Night and Day

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Night and Day
By Virginia Woolf
Thorndike Press - Large Print, (1919)
ISBN: 0-7862-5476-9
Genre: Fiction - Literary Romance, Social Commentary

Reviewed by Angela Evans - September 12, 2003

Night and Day, by Virginia Woolf, is a moving love story set in London. The story takes places in the last glorious moments before the world descends into the dark days of the War to End all Wars, a.k.a. World War I. Both funny and poignant, it is a fine example of the beauty and artistry of Woolf's prose.

Although this story focuses on the romantic involvement of various couples, the main thrust of the story is women's rights and Katharine Hilbery's voyage of self-discovery. A subplot running throughout this book surrounds the efforts by Hilbery's mother to investigate her husband's life in order to construct his biography. Throughout, Woolf has interwoven her social commentary about the late Victorian age and the changing notions about a woman's place in society. Woolf juxtaposes Hilbery's romantic machinations against the life of her best friend, Mary Datchet, who is a valiant warrior in the struggle for women's rights. By juxtaposing the lives of these two women, Woolf highlights the self-imposed confinement that many women consent to when they marry. She also shows that there is more to life for woman than just marriage, but if they want more they will have to work for it.

The characters in this book are so well wrought that it is surprising that they are unable to walk off the page. Woolf's literary style is eloquent and her imagery is vivid. This is one of Woolf's earlier books, and it was written in the style of popularized by nineteenth century social-commentary novelists such as Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. Night and Day was Woolf's second novel, and it provides some intriguing hints about Woolf's burgeoning literary talents, and the prenominal writer she was to become.

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