The Waves Book Review

The Waves is a beautiful novel written in the form of a (long) soliloquy by the esteemed Virginia Woolf. It follows the lives of six friends, and describes their lives, emotions, loves, hates, wishes, longings, and dreams. It uses beautiful wording and endless metaphors, descriptions, similes, and personifications to convey the feelings the characters experience. The book is divided into chapters, each one starting with a short passage describing a different part of the day- sunrise in the beginning, all the way to sunset at the end.


Before I dive into this I must give you proper warning- if you are looking for an easy read, a fast paced novel with simpler wording, then this is not you book. If you are up for a challenge, are ready to dive into literature and want to swim in the confusion of descriptive language then you simply MUST read this. I was in the latter category and this definitely met my hopes.

The wording, the language in this book is exquisite. The vocabulary, man, I was head over heels in love by the first page. If you are a fellow word nerd then this is the book for you. I got to read so many words I didn't even know, and I love learning new words so I was thrilled. Also, the poetry, I have to say this book really launched me even further into the depths of how amazing poetry is, and how many forms it is available in, and now I am even more addicted to poetry. So I salute you Virginia Woolf.

For me, this book was less about the story and more about the words, and the emotions the words conveyed. I read some summaries and things to get a sense on what English pros had to say about the book (since it is a classic), and it seemed to me that the main part of the book was supposed to be the bit about the death of Percival. For me though, I felt the death of Percival was really only a prominent feature of the story for one chapter, and then after sort of faded as the protagonists' life progressed. I got more in the sense of the intense emotions love and responsibility bring, as well as the hardships and challenges of friendship. But I feel the book can be viewed many ways, and think none of them wrong or right, because, in a sense, this book is really more an art piece than a work of fiction, open for interpretation. 

As for the characters, I connected with them each differently- some more than others. I really felt with Bernard when he was talking about how words and stories are constantly swirling about in his mind, how he seems to find a story for everything. I didn't connect so much with his intense extroversion though, since I am much more an introvert than extrovert. That is where I really connected with Rhoda- her introversion and need for time alone was very relatable for me, as well as her "dreaming" which I took as her thinking about her life and the things around her, then taking them  out of context into her imagination. I had a harder time relating to Susan, since I am not yet a mother, but I could definitely feel for her, and felt with her during her hardships and also her love for her baby. Louis was iffy for me- his determination to do well in work was relatable, but his intently money driven mindset was not so much. Neville was by far the hardest for me to connect with, for he always seemed to be yearning after some new love interest desperately, and I'm not really a dramatic person. But he was a very interesting character to read from, and I quite enjoyed his parts. 

I loved the way that the book was divided up by different parts of the day, and how the description of the sun's height was always reflected in the chapter. I also loved how during the last chapter, after the sun had set, at the very end Bernard said that he could see the sun coming up again, just over the horizon. That was really beautiful to me. 

Overall, I loved this book. The descriptive language was wonderful, and it was fairly magical to read. I highly recommend it to any lover of the written word. 

What did you think of The Waves? What character did you connect with the most? Comment below:)


  1. This sounds incredible! I want to read it!!

    1. You must! It is so good! Glad you enjoyed the review :)