Title: Riding at the Gates of Sixty – Virginia Woolf
Author: Alienora Taylor
Published: March 10, 2015
Genre: Fact-based Fiction, Drama
Virginia Woolf’s last days before her tragic suicide in March 1941, at the age of 59 years, is the setting for this partly true/fictional account told through the eyes of her family and friends. This haunting novel is written much in the first person, and you get a firsthand account of the events from her husband, Virginia herself, and her friend, Vanessa Bell. This in depth character study shows Virginia Woolf, as she truly was, a woman comprised of more than just the tragedy of her early demise.
Virginia Woolf was one of the most respected British writers of her time. Self educated at home by her father, she developed a particular writing style that was intriguing in her ability to write dream like sequences within the orderly plot line of her stories. This non-linear writing style allowed Virginia to be more creative, a form of writing that had never been done before by other authors.
In true form, Alienora Taylor employs the same non-linear writing style in her account of Virginia Woolf’s last days. At times, I felt like the author must be channeling the memories and feelings of Virginia, the writing was so engaging. Virginia came alive for me. I like to think that I now better understand her depression and the demons that pursued her. I got to know the real Virginia Woolf.
Author, Alienora Taylor
The happenings in the book are based on fact. The author studied in detail, letters belonging to Virginia Woolf in preparation for writing this novel. The only speculation can be, as to what really existed in the minds of the characters. I felt the author’s attempt to understand and empathize with Virginia’s consuming depression portrayed her, as a successful woman filled with many self doubts, much like modern women today. Virginia seemed to have it all – success, a loving husband, family. It just was not enough to help her in the end.
I loved this book. I knew little about Virginia Woolf, other than that she was a successful author who committed suicide. What I found reading this novel, was that Virginia Woolf was a strong determined soul, a creative genius, tortured by her madness. I cannot wait to read her novels!
Realistic Characterization: 5/5
Made Me Think: 5/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5.0
Buy it at: Amazon
Format & Pricing:
Kindle: $2.99 US