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Orlando - various thoughts

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Edit: this OP was originallya post in the Central Library discussion thread on  What Makes a Great Writer 'Great" before the Group Read on Orlando started

 

Thanks for your insights people, your posts make a lot of sense.  All something to think about.  It will be interesting to see the discussion on Orlando.  He (she) is certainly larger than life and maybe there is a bit of 'tongue in cheek' going on among all the colourful and fantastical descriptions.   :rolleyes:

 

 

 

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Momac, just because "literary buffs" consider someone a great writer doesn't actually mean that they are - it's just their opinion and even if you actually respect their opinion (and that's not by any means obligatory) you still may not enjoy the writing. I agree with all Luna wrote, it's only your opinion that matters, and the style and subject matter may not appeal to you at all.

 

I believe the great Classics writers are recognised because they have stood the test of time. Those 19th century writers actually worked hard on giving the reader a strong plot, well thought out, interesting believable characters and they use beautiful prose with a rich, vocabulary. Even if Dickens characters are larger than life I can see their counterparts around all the time and even knowing language grows and changes, it seems so sad that our modern vocabulary has lost the elegance and accuracy that those writers used.

 

To me, Hilary Mantel, for example, couldn't compete in any way, but that's only my personal opinion. It will be interesting when we come to discuss Orlando more, I don't think you will be alone in having a problem with Virginia Woolfe.

:) 

 

 

This is the second book of Virgina Woolfe's I'm reading; and like the first (the Hours) I'm having to reread paragraphs a few times to make sense of what has been written. Her style of writing is akin to a Monkey bouncing around an enclosure at the Zoo to entertain the crowd. 

 

I like a challenge and sometimes I get one!  biggrin.png

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This is the second book of Virgina Woolfe's I'm reading; and like the first (the Hours) I'm having to reread paragraphs a few times to make sense of what has been written. Her style of writing is akin to a Monkey bouncing around an enclosure at the Zoo to entertain the crowd. 

 

I like a challenge and sometimes I get one!  biggrin.png

I'm finding this too but isn't the prose delicious? I'm glad that I bought the ebook though, just have to press on the word and it's explained, mostly.

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I am finding that parts of the book are striking me as really quite humorous, having a smile here and there about Orlando's idiotic behaviour.  

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I'm finding this too but isn't the prose delicious? I'm glad that I bought the ebook though, just have to press on the word and it's explained, mostly.

 

 

I am finding that parts of the book are striking me as really quite humorous, having a smile here and there about Orlando's idiotic behaviour.

The prose and Orlando are fun.  Woolfe handles Orlando's struggle being two-spirit/ dual natured and  a unique individual discovering who s/he is meant to be, gently.

 

It's a slow read, but I'm getting there...biggrin.png

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 Her style of writing is akin to a Monkey bouncing around an enclosure at the Zoo to entertain the crowd. 

 

 

 Its early morning and I am reading BGO in bed on my phone and nearly fell out laughing at this wonderful absolutely perfect description  -  I award you Grand Prize of three Yorkies and Packet of Penguins  which you must enjoy as I can't get them anymore. :arms:  :arms:

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 Its early morning and I am reading BGO in bed on my phone and nearly fell out laughing at this wonderful absolutely perfect description  -  I award you Grand Prize of three Yorkies and Packet of Penguins  which you must enjoy as I can't get them anymore. :arms:  :arms:

Thank you for the chocolate - I can be bribed with plenty of it!biggrin.png

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Still working my way through Orlando, don't read too much of it at one time, had a chuckle at one sentence where a lady mistakenly thinks she is going to sit in a chair and there isn't one there, it's phrased in an off-hand type of way which I'm sure Ms. Woolfe meant as humorous.  More to this writer than is immediately apparent from the lavish prose and outlandish descriptions. :rolleyes:

Edited by momac

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I'm almost finished reading it, however, I'm going to reread it whilst I'm away.  I've been treating myself to an early morning read (I'm a naturally early riser) with my breakfast.  The house and neighbourhood is quiet with all asleep, except for birdsong from the open window.  I'm wondering if that is why I'm making more progress...?!

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I'm almost finished reading it, however, I'm going to reread it whilst I'm away.  I've been treating myself to an early morning read (I'm a naturally early riser) with my breakfast.  The house and neighbourhood is quiet with all asleep, except for birdsong from the open window.  I'm wondering if that is why I'm making more progress...?!

I would say so. I'm up early too and should be reading, instead of surfing on my tablet.

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Still in the first chapter (is this book even in chapters?) but loving the fantastic exaggerations, like the description of the Great Freeze, or of a spot so high one could see the channel, London, and Snowdon, at the same time, not to mention "thirty or forty" English counties...

 

I wonder if VW was unconsciously thinking of herself when describing Orlando's poetry? "He was fluent, evidently, but he was abstract....there was never a word said as he himself would have said it..." ;) 

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No idea, my ebook doesn't have page numbers but I'm in location 1130 of 3309 or 34%, so more like a third of the way through then

Yeah me too, at 10% and still in chapter one, was just starting to idly wonder if a chapter break would be coming up any time soon lol :)

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Yeah me too, at 10% and still in chapter one, was just starting to idly wonder if a chapter break would be coming up any time soon lol :)

'fraid not. Full chapters only and it's the first ebook I've read so I can't tell if they are long ones.

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I'm somewhere in chapter 3 too - near the end of it , I think.

 

At times I like what I'm reading and at other times Virginia Woolfe's writing is irritating me. I find the quips about what a biographer does or should do intrusive and sometimes used as an excuse to miss out a whole chunk of Orlando's life that she tells us was interesting. I know that she has to choose the bits relevant to what she wants to say, but I wish she would link them differently. It's not all negative though - I am enjoying Orlando's thoughts processes, just wish they were strung together differently.

 

Has anybody read Vita Sackville-West's poem 'The Land' ? I am assuming 'Orlando's poem is based on this. It seems to be out of print and expensive, but I did find a clip of her reading it on youtube.

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To those with e-books, I have just reached Chapter 6 in my library copy and it is the last chapter.

 

I have just edited out some comments I made earlier as they may have influenced the way others might think as they read Orlando. The time difference worked to my advantage as Momac is the only one likely to have seen what I wrote!

 

Do you think we should wait until everyone has finished the book before giving praise and/or criticism?

 

Or is it a good thing to take others comments on board as we go?

Edited by grasshopper

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Will take Orlando with me tomorrow, hubby has to have a pre-op exam and it involves a couple of hours at the hospital so I can put the time in reading Orlando if that's the only book I take with me, won't be tempted to switch to something else (unless, of course, I just happen to bring my Kindle along too).   :hmm:

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To those with e-books, I have just reached Chapter 6 in my library copy and it is the last chapter.I have just edited out some comments I made earlier as they may have influenced the way others might think as they read Orlando. The time difference worked to my advantage as Momac is the only one likely to have seen what I wrote!Do you think we should wait until everyone has finished the book before giving praise and/or criticism?Or is it a good thing to take others comments on board as we go?

I wouldn't wait until everyone is finished before making comments, just get started. We'll catch up with you and reply accordingly. Edited by lunababymoonchild

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I wish Virginia Woolfe had decided whether she was writing either an interesting story of a time-travelling, sex-changing Orlando or a private outpouring of her personal feelings about love for the appreciation of Vita Sackville West, and not tried to combine the two.  She seemed to be writing in a style that demanded to be noticed for itself rather than being used to enhance what was being told and this annoyed me because I was aware of it most of the time.

 

I thought the concept of Orlando’s travels and changing lifestyles was fascinating and  liked the way her beloved home and faithful servants were always there as a stable link in her lives.  There were excellent descriptions, such as the Frost Fair, the entertainment when Ambassador Orlando was made Duke, when she first returns to civilised London or becomes aware of books, or goes driving recklessly through London and many more.  I could easily picture all these occasions in my mind, although at other times the words seemed to come too fast, were too descriptive and overwhelmed the sense of what was being said.

 

I especially enjoyed the way Orlando’s thinking changed when she first arrives back in England as a woman and realises the law is no longer on her side;  how she reluctantly adapted to dress and conventions and was initially annoyed at the constraint on her previous freedom, but then how she came to enjoy exploiting her new abilities.

 

Orlando has been hard to finish and I have enjoyed parts but will not want to read it all through again.

Edited by grasshopper

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Finished chapter one on the way to work this morning.

 

Like others, I'm finding the use of authorial voice very intrusive! I know it's more of the book's time, but I think I just wasn't expecting such an obvious device. Evidently my mental image of VW's writing was wrong!

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I'm just over half way through and at this point would agree with Grasshopper's thoughts, although,of course I must finish reading before I finalise my opinions. I hadn't really picked up on time travel so far, but had once or twice thought I'd mixed up centuries and hundreds. I must look more carefully.

 

waawo mentioned 'authorial voice' - I was looking for that phrase for an hour or so last night, but it didn't come. I can stop now.

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Onto chapter 3 now, Orlando has fetched up an ambassador in Constantinople. I'm dying to see how the much trailed time-travel and sex change are to be effected!

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