Archive for November 28th, 2012

The things I do for Virginia Woolf. Or I should say, for my fixation on fictional sightings of Woolf.

Back in July, Keri Barber alerted the VWoolf Listserv to a sighting in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I hadn’t heard of the book but immediately went to my library database to request it. Imagine my surprise when I saw that there were more than 200 people ahead of me on the queue! Then I learned that this “whodunnit” was the runaway best-seller of the summer. Well, my ignorance is understandable as I don’t read contemporary mysteries and don’t pay much attention to the best-seller lists.

My reserved book came through last week, and I tiptoed in with a little trepidation. For the first 50 pages or so I thought, what am I doing here? This is insipid; I don’t want to waste my time. But if there’s a Woolf reference…? I kept reading and became intrigued by the form, alternating chapters in the voices of the protagonists, the husband’s narrative of his wife’s disappearance on their fifth anniversary, the wife’s diaries dating back to the time they met. As the plot thickened–and wow, did it–I was hooked.

By the time I got to page 247 I was camped out on the couch in marathon reading sessions broken up only by tea and snacks. I’d almost forgotten that I was doing this for Woolf, but then she appeared. I can’t say anything about the context of the  reference without giving something away, but here it is: “I’ll drop silently over the side, my pockets full of Virginia Woolf rocks.”

I stuck a post-it on the spot and kept turning the pages, one after another until I got to the end last night. My “sacrifice” turned out to be a jolly romp, and now I’m ready for the next one. Anything for Virginia Woolf, right?

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