Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, “The longest and most charming love letter in literature,” playfully constructs the figure of Orlando as the fictional embodiment of Woolf’s close friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West. Spanning three centuries of boisterous, fantastic adventure, the novel opens as Orlando, a young nobleman in Elizabeth’s England, awaits a visit from the Queen and traces his experience with first love as England, under James I, lies locked in the embrace of the Great Frost.
At the midpoint of the novel, Orlando, now an ambassador in Constantinople, awakes to find that he is a woman, and the novel indulges in farce and irony to consider the roles of women in the 18th and 19th centuries. As the novel ends in 1928, a year consonant with full suffrage for women, Orlando, now a wife and mother, stands poised at the brink of a future that holds new hope and promise for women. (Goodreads)
My Rating: 4.5/5
It is hard to believe that Woolf wrote this book (and I’m paraphrasing here) “as a break from real writing.” The complexity of character and plot send you spinning into a maze like Alice in Wonderland… just with less drugs!
Orlando sees the world from two perspectives which inherently makes their view of the world unique.
This book is a strange but wonderful piece of literature that anyone with an interest in the themes of: belonging; gender; romance; and class, should read.