I read this as a precursor to The Hours. I am the type of person who likes to get a little background if I know that it’s there. I really had to work in order to get it read – I found it to be a very difficult read.
Having said that, I also honestly think that it is a really well-written book. I would like to try it again sometime. I think that I would get a lot more out of it on a second read, and it’s really not so long that that would be out of the question. I really wanted to enjoy it, I just found that it was too much work!
One thing that was a real turn-off for me was the flow. There are no breaks, chapter or otherwise. One of Woolf’s great achievements is the way she seamlessly flows from one point of view or perspective to another, switching characters in the middle of a paragraph or thought. It’s amazing, but also hard to follow (at least for the first part of the book, until you get used to it). If you don’t have the patience (and I don’t) to go back and catch what you missed, you will find yourself missing out on a lot (which I know I did).