2 out of 5 stars
This is the story of three women, each a generation apart, told over one day in their lives. One of the threads tells the story of Clarissa Vaughn who is hosting a party for her award-winning poet-friend Richard who is suffering from the ravages of AIDS. Around fifty years earlier, Laura Brown is an American housewife and young mother who over the course of her day spends some of it reading Mrs Dalloway hoping to escape domestic drudgery in the pages of the book. The third main character of the book is the troubled author, Virginia Woolf and it is set on the day that she begins to write Mrs Dalloway.
It is a clever idea linking the three stories all intertwined together with the common link of the book Mrs Dalloway. Picking up on details of their lives, Clarissa shopping for flowers for Richard, Laura wanting to stay in bed rather than face the stark realities of that day and Virginia avoid eating to spend time alone and writing. He picks up on their fears and insecurities as well as the small victories they pass through the day.
I have read one of his other books previously, Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown, and really liked it. This had been recommended to me via a friend on Twitter and managed to get hold of a copy, so I’d thought I’d give it a go. However, even though the writing is quite special, especially one particular moment that is one of the key points of the book, it really didn’t work for me. Not sure why, possibly because the link between the three characters is gossamer thin, but I think it might have been because of the Woolf connection. The only book of hers that I have read before, To The Lighthouse, I could not get along with and so it seems with this one.