The Years

The Years

3.77 (2,686 ratings by Goodreads)
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As the Pargiters, a middle-class English family, move from the oppressive confines of the Victorian home of the 1880s to the 'present day' of the 1930s, this novel engages with a painful struggle between utopian hopefulness and crippled despair. The efforts of its characters - Eleanor and Kitty, Martin and Sara, Peggy and North - to break free from repression, egotism, and convention are made with awkward difficulty. They are weighed down by the pressures of war, the social structures of patriarchy, capitalism and Empire, and the rise of Fascism. Through the muffled, fragmented textures of the narrative a savage indictment of Virginia Woolf's society begins to be heard. But its bitter sadness is relieved by the longing for some better way of life, where freedom and justice' might really be possible. This is Virginia Woolf's longest novel, written with the greatest difficulty she ever experienced, and yet the most popular of all her writings during her lifetime. With the feminist essay that grew out of it, Three Guineas, it can now be re-read as the most challengingly political, even revolutionary, of all her books. "The Years" is one of ten World's Classics by Virginia Woolf, and comes with an introducton and notes to provide guidance for readers new to this more

Product details

  • Paperback | 522 pages
  • 116.84 x 185.42 x 27.94mm | 272.15g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0192818333
  • 9780192818331

Review Text

A "must book" - yes, for the shops in which Virginia Woolf is recognized, appreciated, and rightfully given her unique place in English literature. But for the department stores, for many circulating libraries, Virginia Woolf would be difficult selling, difficult renting. Definitely, this is not of the school of obscurantism to which The Waves belonged. Nor has it the brittle vividness of Mrs. Dalloway, nor the imaginative quality of Orlando. It is more direct than her later work, but gives one the feeling of having sat through a play in which the characters simply suggest or describe action taking place off stage, and in which there is no "business" - no drama taking place before the eyes of the audience. From 1880 to the present one follows the fortunes and misfortunes of the family, with its many ramifications, and at the close no one character has taken on substance and reality. And yet, for sheer magic of handling the English language, the book is a joy to read, there is a crystal, fragile beauty, lacking substance, lacking shadows - or perhaps it is the shadow we see. She has succeeded admirably in her purpose, - the tracing of a pattern of life impinging on consciousness, and avoiding action and plot and situations. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

2,686 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 25% (664)
4 39% (1,044)
3 27% (732)
2 7% (196)
1 2% (50)
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