This novel was first published in 1938. Its work-shy eponymous hero, adrift in London, realises that desire can never be satisfied and withdraws from life, in search of stupor. Murphy's lovestruck fiancé Celia tries with tragic pathos to draw him back, but her attempts are doomed to failure.
In 1945, Rick Braithwaite, an ex-RAF pilot, looks for a job in British engineering. He is shocked to realise that, as a Black man from British Guiana, no one will employ him because of the colour of his skin. In desperation he takes a teaching job in a tough East End school, where he's left to govern a class of unruly teenagers.
Karim Amir, 'an Englishman born and bred - almost', lives with his English mother and Indian father in the routine comfort of the South London suburbs and dreams of escape to London proper. The years of frustration come to an eng when his father, the ebullient Buddha of Suburbia, finally leads the way with his glamorous lover, Eva, and introduces Karim to a thrilling life in the city.
This novel explores the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman's life. Virginia Woolf is direct and vivid in her account of the details of Clarissa Dalloway's preparation for a party.