Tuesday, August 09, 2005

_Letters to Virginia Woolf_

Mid July I spoke of Lisa Williams' _Letters to Virginia Woolf_ as a lyrical memoir that faces the complexity of adolescence, divorce, death, war and childbirth with heartfelt intelligence, reminding us that struggle and loss often lead to an appreciation of life’s wonder. Here is an excerpt from Williams' book:

Dear Virginia Woolf,

The fertility waiting room was packed with women who chewed gum, crossed and uncrossed legs, their faces covered by the pages of magazines. In that waiting room there was always an eerie silence, interrupted only by a nurse calling out a woman’s name. It was a silence bordered by the voices of the receptionists answering a constantly ringing phone. As women pushed and pulled the big black front door open and shut, the silence seemed to close up tightly too. In other moments it was as if the silence ascended to the ceiling, hovering invisibly over the heads of women, sitting and waiting.

“I went under the sea. I have been dead, and yet am not alive, but let me rest still” (MD 104). The words of the shell-shocked soldier came suddenly to me, soothing the emptiness of the moment.

This Friday, August 12, Book Coolie will publish a short essay by Willaims on how Woolf has influenced her. Looking ahead to Williams' essay, today Book Coolie has an excerpt from Mulk Raj Anand's _Conversations in Bloomsbury_.

Here's the link:

1 comment:

Rebekah said...

Interesting. I need to read Virginia Woolf. I've not anything by her, and she's influenced so many writers. Whenever she's referenced, I feel rather ignorant.