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Extended Audio Sample The Voyage Out, by Virginia Woolf Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,031 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Virginia Woolf Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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First published in 1915, The Voyage Out marked the literary debut of one of the great pioneers of the modern novel, Virginia Woolf.

Woolf’s witty and lyrical debut follows a group of lively, eccentric British tourists embarking on a sea voyage from London to South America. For Rachel Vinrace, a shy, motherless young lady traveling under the wing of her aunt Helen, this first voyage out into the world becomes a mythic rite of passage into emotional and intellectual maturity.

As the narrative shifts point of view among the mismatched jumble of passengers, Woolf takes the opportunity to satirize Edwardian life while sketching the evolution of her heroine’s understanding.

When the ship finally arrives at the village Santa Marina on the South American coast, Rachel is introduced to a group of English expatriates. Among them is the sensitive young Terence Hewet, an aspiring writer with whom she falls into a doomed romance.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A strange, tragic, inspired book whose scene is a South Americana not found on any map and reached by a boat which would not float on any sea, an America whose spiritual boundaries touch Xanadu and Atlantis.”

    E. M. Forster

  • “Done with something startling like genius…in its humor and its sense of irony, the occasional poignancy of its emotions, its profound originality.”

    Observer (London)

  • “For all its tragic interest, The Voyage Out is not low-keyed; it even has a slight buoyancy of tone, as if clear perception itself brought a continual zest to its writer. Woolf has the diversity of power which makes the great writer of narrative.”

    New Republic

  • “A first glimpse into the themes and techniques that would preoccupy her entire career…Even on this wide canvas Woolf is most interested in portraying the sensitive interior life of her characters.”

    Barnes & Noble, Daybook review

  • “No later novel of Woolf’s will capture so brilliantly the excitement of youth.”

    Phyllis Rose, biographer and literary critic

  • The Voyage Out…is at once the product of Woolf’s deep knowledge and perceptive interpretation of the literary and intellectual tradition she inherited and also a challenging and idiosyncratic response to modern life and problems.”

    Jane Wheare, editor and biographer

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Julie | 2/19/2014

    " Wow, did I enjoy reading this book! This is not a book I'd ever thought I'd have read, but once again it was the only English-language book available on a shelf full of French and German titles (more than one German traveler carries around the complete short stories of Kafka). Oh wait, there was also a book in English about surviving the apocalypse, but I didn't really feel like reading that while on vacation. Anyway, I expected this book to be kind of crappy since in the introduction the critic/academic or whatever went on for pages about how 'The Voyage Out' is very amateurish, how things are developed very brusquely which in later works by Woolf are developed very subtly, etc. So maybe that gave me low expectations. Or maybe I just really like Virginia Woolf. But anyway, the point is that I REALLY liked this! This was a great book to read while traveling since it is ABOUT traveling (so kudos to whoever brought it with them!). It has a cast full of funny and original characters, just the kind of people you'd expect to meet in a hotel. Much to my shock even the Dalloways show up and play a key role in the development of Rachel, the novel's heroine--however, they are decidedly very unlike the Dalloways as they appear a few books later; a lot more shallow and satirized. But it was still very fascinating to me to see that Woolf had created these characters early on only to return to them later. Anyway, I guess another reason why people consider this a 'lesser' Woolf work is that it's still very much a traditional, realist, plot-driven novel. It's interesting to read in wikipedia that in early drafts Woolf included a lot more outspoken political commentary on homosexuality, women's rights and the British Empire that she cut out on the advice that such passages would damage her still-blossoming career. I liked reading this book because it made me feel hopeful for myself, and about life in general. Woolf writes as if she's on acid in some passages: there is such scintillating, sparkling prose, like she's seeing everything in fluroscent colors, or as if she's overwhelmed by just the FEELINGS of it all, of being alive. Again and again I keep returning to the question of HOW somebody who could write like this, about the feeling of loving life, better than anybody else I have ever read--how could somebody who could write like that walk into that river? Questions without answers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Heather | 2/14/2014

    " Virginia Woolf's first book and the first of her works that I read. My determination to read Woolf was probably the one thing that got me through the stagnant parts of the novel. You can see Woolf's stream-of-consciousness style developing here, but it's certainly not at it's peak. Still some beautiful construction of character's, such as Mrs Ambrose, who was the most fleshed out and actualized person in the novel. Also lovely was the episode with Richard and Clarissa Dalloway, the glamorous couple with whom Rachael is so impressed, who reappear of course in her famous work 'Mrs Dalloway'. Most disappointing was the ending, which made me feel cheated of all I'd invested in the character of Rachel. Still, if that was Woolf's intention, well - it worked! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Irina | 2/12/2014

    " Although the style of writing is reminiscent of the Victorian era, the feminist voice of Virginia Wolf is loud and clear. The novel is one of her earlier works. It has a slow and steady pace with elaborate discriptions, subtle humor, and it's rich in symbolism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Laura | 2/7/2014

    " Reminded me of Forster. Interesting to see how Woolf's writing style started and evolved! "

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