John Edgar Wideman's Bookshelf
By Virginia Woolf
This is a novel about writing and time, about how we desperately endeavor to inscribe moments in our consciousness, using words to record, shape, and remember our lives. Even as our lives, alienated from us by vast, incomprehensible distance, ebb and flow relentlessly like the ocean's ceaseless breaking on the shore. Following a group of bright British students from their childhood days together at school through the years in which they begin to mature, decline, then die, Woolf asks how is any of this possible…what could it mean…do we possess faculties of mind or body to address this soaring, this falling and drowning, this obliteration and return in time…. "How I distrust neat designs of life that are drawn upon half-sheets of notepaper. I begin to long for some little language such as lovers use, broken words, inarticulate words, like the shuffling of feet on the pavement."