Night and Day
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Virginia Woolf offers a touching and introspective look at Edwardian life and love in her 1919 novel Night and Day. Young Katherine Hilbery seems destined for a life of luxury and renown. As the novel opens, Katherine’s mother is busily preparing to write a biography of Katherine’s illustrious grandfather, a well-respected and successful poet. The entire family is eagerly awaiting Katherine’s own debut as a writer, sure that she must have inherited the talent and inclinations of her famous ancestor. Katherine, however, is caught in her own dilemma about the future—she must decide whether to break with tradition and defy her family’s expectations by marrying Ralph Denham, a middle-class lawyer. As a working man with no artistic talent, Ralph would be a scandalous choice of a husband in the Hilbery family’s eyes. The witty, charming, and ultimately eye-opening story that unfolds about Katherine’s dilemma illuminates timeless questions of love, tradition, marriage, and freedom. Night and Day is a must-read for those familiar with and new to Woolf.
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Opening Lines (Experimental)
It was a Sunday evening in October, and in common with many other young ladies of her class, Katharine Hilbery was pouring out tea. Perhaps a fifth part of her mind was thus occupied, and the remaining parts leapt over the little barrier of day which interposed between Monday morning and this ...Back to top
Reviewed by lizkies on Feb 22, 2010
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At first I didn't think this book's action would pick up, but then they were all in the country at Christmas and I got all excited. Clicked that link all the time.
I'd never read Virginia Woolf before. This book is good for that because it's real early Virginia Woolf, which means it is disguised as a regular novel. Even within that frame, though, she displays exactly how well she knows people, and already it's scary.
The conventional love-stories format meant I didn't at all expect the turn it took as the main character struggled with female identity and independent thought in 1919. This theme was thrilling, and the highlight of the novel. Her articulation of her characters' ideas and mistakes is shimmering with insight, several surprising scenes, and sincere feminist need.
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Ratings for 'Night and Day' by Woolf, Virginia