And the trend of bringing writers to life through fiction continues with Adeline by Norah Vincent. In a refreshing turn, this time we have a female writer – Virginia Woolf – front and center with her husband and other members of the Bloomsbury group playing a secondary role.
Now for the embarrassing part. I’ve never read anything by Virginia Woolf. How crazy is that? And I think I would have gained so much more from this novelization of her writerly life if I had. I could tell there were allusions to To The Lighthouse, but I may have gotten more out of them if I had actually read the book. And I’m sure Orlando would be all the more salacious, had I actually read it. But…
What I did really appreciate, however, were the insights given into the times and the Bloomsbury group in particular. Woolf was great friends with Lytton Strachey and T.S. Eliot. Seeing how these people negotiated homosexuality, antisemitism, neuroses and a socialism of privilege was really fascinating.
Who would like this book? More than other books about writers, I would say this book is for the fan of Virginia Woolf. The sections dealing with Adeline, for me, were of the least interest, but perhaps the most revealing for fans of Woolf. Stylistically, these sections were also the most difficult. If i were to read Norah Vincent again, I’d turn to her memoir, Self-Made Man, which recounts her 18 month stint of living as a man.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley for review consideration.