The Book Club Review

Mrs Dalloway, with Charles Pignal • #123

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Episode notes

Dull account of one woman’s day or rich and resonant masterpiece? Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf has divided readers since it was published and continues to spark debate today.

In London, one day in June, 1923, society hostess Clarissa Dalloway sets out to buy flowers for a party she is giving that evening. Returning home later she is visited by an old friend, Peter Walsh, who rekindles memories and feelings from her youth. Meanwhile making his own path through London traumatised soldier, Septimus Smith, is finding everyday life a torment and his young Italian wife cannot help him. Although they never meet, the two stories interweave as Woolf captures her characters and London on the page.

Join Kate and special guest, prolific reader and Instagram book reviewer  Charles Pignal as they dive into Dalloway and debate the results. Could Woolf have used a few less semi-colons? Can Kate talk about the book without weeping? If you haven’t read it, should you read it? Listen in for the answers to all these questions plus some great follow-on recommendations from Charles and from Kate and Laura picking up on the London theme. Whether you’re wondering what to read next for book club or just want some good additions to your own reading pile we have the book for you.

Book list

The Annotated Mrs Dalloway, with notes by Merve Emre

In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

The Waves by Virginia Woolf

Young Eliot and Eliot After the Waste Land by Robert Crawford

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

White Teeth and Intimations by Zadie Smith

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

On Golden Hill and Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford

The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street and 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks

Queenie by Candice Carty Williams.


For more from Charles including reviews, his weekly books quiz, and author interviews find him on Instagram @charleslangip

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