Monday, March 11, 2013

Kew Gardens, by Virginia Woolf

Kew Gardens was originally published with illustrations by Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf's sister.  I'd love to read that edition (or a reproduction, something that doesn't cost a hundred dollars).  I imagine it would add another layer to this interesting slice-of-life story.  Kew Gardens is very fluid, but I suppose that is just part of the Stream of Consciousness style.  I think you have to be in the mood to read Stream of Consciousness/Virginia Woolf.  She is not a writer you can casually pick up, I think.  Her work requires a certain amount of focus.

Kew Gardens feels like an escape from the city.  Four different sets of people move in and out of the narration as they pass an oval flower bed in Kew Gardens.  It's an observational story.  The reader gets to watch these people (and the snail) and hear little snippets of their conversations.  I enjoyed it and it's left me wanting to read more Woolf.  Maybe next week I'll take on Solid Objects.  If you want to sample Woolf, get a taste of her style, Kew Gardens is a great place to start.  It's a wonderful and very short story.  However, if you can't handle the style of Kew Gardens, I'd steer clear of To The Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway.  For me, Kew Gardens was a reminder of how much I enjoy Woolf.

Short Story Monday is hosted by John Mutford at the Book Mine Set.

Classics Club title 3/60. 


  1. Anonymous15/3/13 14:54

    I just read "Orlando" for the classics club and really, really, liked it. I'll have to add Kew Gardens to my tbr, as there is something quite intriguing about the perspective of a snail.

    1. Orlando is a fantastic novel, one of my favourites by Woolf.