Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
It is perhaps not surprising that Vincent (Self-Made Man), whose nonfiction has dealt with issues of gender and mental illness, should choose as the topic of this novel the life and death of Virginia Woolf. Specifically, the novel focuses on a handful of scenes from the last 15 years of Woolf's life, exploring not only Woolf's complicated relationship with her own creative process but also the intricate and fraught entanglements of the Bloomsbury Group. Central to Vincent's imagined version of Woolf's later years are the consequences of the author's troubled childhood and its implications for her close relationships, including her sister, Vanessa. Here, much of Woolf's depression and anxiety is linked to her childhood self-and her given name, Adeline-with whom Woolf has a pivotal imaginary conversation that haunts her to the end. This exchange is skillfully rendered and emotionally insightful, leading Vincent's novel to its somber conclusion. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Virginia Woolf's haunted descent into the River Ouse in 1941 is re-created here in a tale of the author's tortured last years.Vincent (Thy Neighbor, 2012, etc.) re-creates the world of the fabled Bloomsbury group, emphasizing the years bookended by Woolf's triumphant release of To the Lighthouse and the later, less well-received The Years. The spectral presence of Adeline, Woolf's childlike alter ego, who bears the name Virginia was given at birth, engages Woolf throughout the novel and accompanies her at moments marked by great insight and great pain. In dense prose, Vincent foreshadows Woolf's ultimate demise in myriad ways with references to rocks, water, milk, and the psychiatric woes of both the painter Dora Carrington (Lytton Strachey's companion) and Vivien Eliot (T.S. Eliot's estranged wife). Woolf's ultimate acceptance, or actually embrace, of her fate is detailed meticulously in the endgame conversation between the soul-sick, world-weary author and the internist from whom her desperate husband, Leonard, has sought help. Hovering in the background, much like Adeline, is Woolf's struggle with the problem of truth-telling when there is no truth to be had, only interpretation.Readers in search of a crash course on the Bloomsbury circle and the machinations of Woolf's fevered mind will appreciate Vincent's attempts to illuminate both, but her dark portrait of Woolf's agonizing journey through a life marked by psychic pain will hold the most appeal for those already familiar with this sad story of genius and madness. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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