The Waves, Paperback
5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Set on the English coast against the vivid backdrop of the sea, The Waves introduces six characters who are grappling with the death of a beloved friend, Percival.

The characters are almost imperceptibly revealed through the kaleidoscopic accumulation of their reflections on themselves and each other.

Regarded by many as Virginia Woolf's masterpiece, The Waves was partially written in order to exorcise her private ghosts as the central, yet absent, character of Percival represents her brother Thoby, who died in 1906.

It is a poetic dreamscape, visual, experimental and thrilling.

With introductions by Jeanette Winterson and Gillian Beer.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780099478270



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

For some reason, I just can't finish this book. It's like trying to catch the sea -- I read it, forget what I've read, go back, read again, get confused -- but can't get to the end. I love it, moment by moment, but looked at from afar it seems like a task. A challenge. When really it's the simplest thing in the world -- people thinking, being themselves. Or perhaps it's because I feel so much like Rhoda that I'm afraid for it to end.

Review by

Probably my favourite of Woolf's amazing body of work, 'The Waves' is her most experimental piece; as such it is the one that deviates the most from the standard novel form; the language and structure of the novel are more similar to poetry than prose. It also, as with most modernist works, gives the most pleasure with repeated reading; a first reading just isn't enough to fully appreciate it.

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