“The Waves” by Virginia Woolf

Photo: Anna Iltnere, Beach Books

“The Waves”
Virginia Woolf, 1931

Vintage, 2000

Seven friends are together since nursery. Bernard, Jinny, Louis, Neville, Rhoda, Susan and Percival. Nursery is located in a house with a garden right by the sea. Just like Virginia’s childhood summer house in St Ives. The sound of the waves is tattooed on the skin of their memories. “Chained beast stumps on the beach. It stamps and stamps.”

Meditative, rhythmic. Paragraph after paragraph. Head gets a bit dizzy, but soon I fall in love with the wavelike rhythm. Poetic novel “The Waves” by Virginia Woolf, the most experimental of her works, is woven entirely of soliloquies spoken by the book’s six characters.

Also important is Percival, the seventh character, though readers never hear him speak in his own voice. Everyone loves Percival. Unfortunately he falls from a horse and dies when young, just like Virginia’s brother Thoby, who contracted typhoid at the age of 26 while on holiday in Greece, and died shortly after. Percival remains as a mysterious hero, who is mentioned often but never says a word in this book. Mysterious and deeply loved.

Nursery, school, youth, family, job, aging. They all meet again and again. You hear how their thoughts change, but they themselves don’t.

Rhoda is afraid of everything. She finds her soothing escape during nights when dreaming the dreams. When awake, she has to touch something solid to not to dissolve into ungraspable reality. Rhoda thinks, she has no face.

Jinny is like a dancing flame, attractive, teasing, living in reality and celebrating it. Party diva, a playful flow. “Come,” is her golden key.

Susan has green eyes and she can take a deep breath only when in nature. Far away from school, far away from London, because in the city she suffocates and suffers. When grown-up, she has children, rough hands and a healthy attitude.

Louis senses all the lives, his soul has ever lived. He hears women singing by the Nile, although that was thousands of years ago. That is why he leads his present life as a business. Appointments in his daily planner anchors him to here and now. To clear away the prehistoric density, he becomes a successful businessman. Although he still is an attic dweller with an old and dusty soul.

Bernard is a story teller. He ignites when in people. Phrases fly like bubbles from his mouth, like rings of smoke. Everything is a story. Until his hair become gray and he becomes tired from all that and longs “for some little language such as lovers use, broken words, inarticulate words, like the shuffling of feet on the pavement.”

Neville wonders, how scarce is our knowledge about each other. How infinite we are in ourselves, and how finite and one-sided we become in the eyes of others. He grasps the moment, when the infinite Neville, who approaches the table at a restaurant, becomes Neville the friend of these five other people.

Virginia Woolf has X-ray eyes. She inflates readers with the kaleidoscope of life with such a beautiful intensity that you cry and laugh at the same time. The book is her magic funnel.

Life is not a solid ground, and Virginia Woolf teaches us how to walk on water.

“Her method was not the method of the nineteenth century, where a boat could be put out, and a course decided, and everyone on board securely taken to the Captain’s destination. She wanted something riskier, more intimate, but she still needed to keep control. She chose to walk. She put language under the soles of her feet and she walked. She watched the way the sun affected the water and she walked. All the time she walked she wrote.”

Jeanette Winterson, in the introduction of “The Waves”, 2000

***

Septiņi draugi ir kopā no bērnudārza. Bernards, Džinnija, Lūiss, Nevils, Roda, Sūzana un Persivals. Bērnudārzs tāpat kā Virdžīnijas Vulfas bērnības māja atrodas jūras krastā. Viļņu šalkoņa kļūst par tetovējumu uz atmiņu ādas. “Pieķēdētais nezvērs liedagā dauza kājas. Tas dauza un dauza.”

Meditatīvi, ritmiski. Rindkopa pēc rindkopas. Galva sagriežas. Virdžīnijas Vulfas poētisko romānu “Viļņi” auž tikai varoņu teiktais. Sešu cilvēku iekšējais monologs, brīžiem dialogs skalojas kā viļņi krastā. Tikai Persivals tiešā tekstā nerunā, paliek kā noslēpums. Bet Persivalu visi seši mīl visvairāk. Viņš mirst jauns tāpat kā Vulfas brālis.

Bērnudārzs, skola, jaunība, ģimene, darbs, vecumdienas. Visi atkal un atkal satiekas. Mainās varoņu domas, nemainās raksturi un īpatnības.

Rodai ir bail no visa. Mieru viņa rod tikai naktī sapņos. Nomodā viņai jāpieturas pie kaut kā cieta, lai neizšķīstu. Rodai liekas, ka viņai nav sejas. Džinnija ir kustīga uguns, skaista, iekārojama. Ballīšu dīva, zelts, plūstoša rotaļa. “Nāc,” ir viņas atsēgas frāze. Sūzana ar zaļajām acīm spēj elpot tikai dabā. Prom no skolas, prom no Londonas. Viņai piedzimst bērni, ir sastrādātas rokas, veselīga attieksme. Lūiss jūt visas dzīves, kuras ir dzīvojis. Dzird dziesmas, kuras sievietes dziedājušas Nīlas krastos pirms tūkstošiem gadu. Tieši tādēļ viņa tagadne ir lietišķa, ieraksti plānotājā viņu notur šeit un tagad. Lai aizgaiņātu aizvēsturisko blīvumu, viņš kļūst par veiksmīgu uzņēmēju.

Bernards ir stāstnieks, kurš uzplaiksnī saskarē ar cilvēkiem. Frāzes no viņa mutes lido kā burbuļi, kā dūmu gredzeni. Viss ir stāsts. Līdz sirmā vecumā viņš no tā ir noguris un vēlas to mazo, nenogludināto valodu, kādā runā divi mīlnieki, un kas skan kā šļūcoši soļi pret asfaltu. Nevils brīnās, cik maz mēs viens par otru zinām. Cik bezgalīgi esam sevī, bet cik vienpusīgi kļūstam atkarībā no tā, ko otrs mūsos saredz. Viņš notver mirkli, kad no bezgalīgā Nevila, kurš tuvojas restorāna galdiņam, pārtop tajā Nevilā, kādu viņu redz draugi.

Virdžīnijai Vulfai ir rentgena acis, kas dzīves kaleidoskopu lasītājā iepludina tā, ka gribas raudāt un smieties. Dzīve nav cietzeme, un Virdžīnija Vulfa māca staigāt pa ūdens virsmu.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s