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Saturday, May 30, 2009


Ms. Magazine has called this one  "... an imaginiative spoof"

My opinion - SHAME ON MS.   

Published by Penguin Books in 1983, this is an unlikely novel of espionage with Virginia Woolf, PI investigator, uncovering an intrigue that may determine the course of World War 1.  Virginia and her Bloomsbury friends, including well known biographical characterizations of time, place, scenes and dialogue, are dubiously reinvented by the authors who disclaim their spoof as historical fact.  

UPDATE  June 1, 2009.

Have just finished re-reading this novel some 25 years later.  I now consider it one of the worst parodies I have ever read,  both of the portrayal of Virginia Woolf,  her life and friends, and of the mystery novel genre itself.   No wonder societies like the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain were founded in 1998, a non-profit organisation, which aims to raise the profile of Virginia Woolf and promote the reading and discussion of her works.  Its quarterly Bulletin  keeps members abreast of the influence Virginia Woolf continues to have in the arts and literature around the world.       

  An Anonymous comment/inquiry has been asked about Stephanie Barron's new novel 'THE WHITE GARDEN: A novel of Virginia Woolf", thought to be published in the fall - actually, September 29.  Barron is the author of the Jane Austen Mystery stories;  it is likely that this, also, may be added to your light summer reading list.     More to come in answer to this inquiry.  


  1. I'm not into detective fiction (I can never resist looking at the last page and then I'm bored!) but the spoof idea always attracts. However, you sound rather luke warm so I don't think I'll recommend it to my Book Group.

  2. I love the cover of the book and think it could be an interesting read!

    I haven't made it to Sissinhurst yet this year but I am hoping to go soon. I am however off to Charleston in a few weeks, another beautiful although very different place.

    I haven't found many Woolf blogs to follow, the ones I reguarly look at are:

    Lots of other bloggers make regular comments on Woolf but read lots of other things too.

    I've just posted a review of a Hermione Lee lecture, it was a real treat!


  3. As you will see, I have added the blogs to my sidebar to follow. I have a few photos I took when visiting Charleston in 200l. I will see if I can post them. I was going to anyway, and then some more I took when visiting Rodmell, which was included in the 'Virginia in the Sussex' study week of 2001, hosted by Sheila Wilkinson of the VWS of GB. A memorable week.