“A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.” I defer to Samuel Johnson and after fifty-four pages lay Orlando aside. I declare a probable permanent holiday from Virginia Woolf’s ‘writer’s holiday.’
Coming to Orlando after the intensifying delights of Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse was not for me. Historical fiction is rarely a genre I appreciate; when written as magical parody it would take a work of brilliance to maintain my attention. Orlando despite some obvious merits is not that work of brilliance.
Before replacing Orlando in the now-expanded Woolf section on my book shelves, I skipped ahead and dipped into Chapter VI. This is more like it, the Modernist qualities, the experimental fiction that I have come to appreciate from Virginia Woolf. Perhaps when Woolf’s other work has faded a little I will pick up Orlando again. Before then I look forwarding to my reading of The Waves.