Orlando: A Biography Virginia Woolf 1928

OrlandobookMany years ago I took a boat trip with my Dad; we went from Stoke Bruerne to Cropredy. I remember it was a lovely autumn day; blustery outside, so I curled up in the back cabin with a cup of tea and my new book. I had bought it in Leeds the week before. I had never read anything by Virginia Woolf before, but I had read somewhere that she had written this book as a love letter to her girlfriend, or more like illicit lover ‘Vita Sackville West’. So as I was in the process of figuring out my own sexuality and found anything with even a hint of lesbianism highly erotic I thought I would give it a go. Well Dad didn’t get to see me again for hours; I just could not put this book down.

The story starts with our protagonist as a young man, set in the time of Elizabeth I. During the many twists within the book, Orlando has a romance with the aged Queen but after she dies, falls for a Russian princess. He goes off to be an ambassador but when he returns he falls asleep for a long time. After trying to be awoken to no avail, he then finally awakens from his slumbers and finds himself to be a woman. His soul is still as it was but his gender has changed, this leads one to wonder what Freud would make of such a book.

I think it fairly obvious what Virginia was trying to say but for risk of libel I will leave it unsaid here… but what a book. What an adventure, what a break to all conformity! Go and buy it today, lock yourself away on a cold autumn day and devour this wonderful book!

You can buy Orlando here

Orlando (Penguin Hardback Classics)

Book Reviews Classic Reads Lesbian Books Virginia Woolf

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