Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf

Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf was published in 1941, but seems to have been written on the cusp of war.  Not long after finishing this book Woolf had filled her pockets with stones and walked into the River Ouse, depression is a terrible thing. Her husband wrote that he didn’t think that she would have made much in the way of changes to the text, if she had lived. That’s a real shame as for me the best thing about this novella was that it was only 100 pages long.  Suicide was obviously on her mind as she even mentions a man who had drowned himself.

About half of the book features a local village pageant, something which was popular in the days when people had to make their own entertainment, and also features in one of  E F  Benson’s Mapp and Lucia books, albeit briefly. A pageant is the sort of thing that people would have gone to because ‘their wee Jeannie’ or someone they knew had a bit part in it.  I found it really boring. Between the acts of the play/pageant there’s chat among the audience.

The blurb says: Between the Acts, an account of a village pageant in the summer preceding the Second World War which successfully interweaves comedy, satire and disturbing observation.

Sadly it just didn’t do it for me. I’m a bit worried about having to read her The Years for the Classics Club spin, especially as it’s a lot longer.



2 thoughts on “Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf

  1. I have only ever tried one book by Virginia Woolf and couldn’t get into it. I don’t remember the title at the moment, but I would like to try another book by her if you have a suggestion for one you actually liked. Between the Acts doesn’t sound like a good option to me.

    • Paula,
      In the past I’ve read Mrs Dalloway, and quite enjoyed it. I seem to remember that I quite liked To the Lighthouse, but my review of it seems to have disappeared, however I’m not a huge fan of her style of writing and am somewhat puzzled as to why people rave about her.

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