At the risk of writing a gushing, kneejerk non-review in the immediate flush of finishing, I think ... I think ... this is the one.
You can have your lighthouses and your dalloways - they are (indisputably?) more literary, more artful (I write that; I don't know if it's true). And for all the blurb writers' condescending labelling of this one as more accessible
- gasp! - I will accept that there is just simply something I don't get
about those others - get in my heart, that is. Get at a visceral level.
I like them a lot. I will re-read them - particularly To The Lighthouse
, which needed more of my attention than I gave it at the time.
But this one. Filled to the brim with whimsy and poetry. Cheeky and satirical. Funny, funny, funny. So light-hearted and filled with joy and self-deprecation, but no less intelligent for it. Structurally extraordinary - think of it: Dalloway tried to pack all of life into one day; this turns that on its head and says - the writer can't ever get life on the page without having lived life, lives ... two thousand and fifty-two of them! Four hundred years' worth!
As it comes roaring to a close and into the present, it almost made my heart burst, it did.
This is the one that makes me wish I knew her. This is the one that makes me mourn her loss.