Another literary fantasy novel. AFter the disappointments of Jordan, Martin and, most of all, Feist, I’m happy to be looking to Marquez, Updike and now Woolf for my fantasy fix. As I’ve said before, any story is by definition a fantasy, so why restrict your scope to only the events that can take place in this prosaic world we are trapped in? Sure, there’s a place for the great everyday; but fantasy can be so much fun!
And given how dry Woolf is, it’s surprising to see how fun Orlando can be. There are two key elements of fantasy here: Orlando (the character) lives for a very long time, and there’s a second question of gender… The age question is handled interestingly. There’s never a discussion of this, Orlando just keeps on living, aging at a different rate to everyone else around.
This disconnect from reality creates a dreamy, flowing world: the story reads like a lyric poem: drifting from image to image guided by your narrator, Orlando. And then towards the end it starts to coalesce on but two points. But slowly, like a willow emerging from the mist. Left wondering if those were always there, you float past.