Today we have another Woolf sighting of Virginia Woolf in contemporary fiction, this one in a novel by Pat Barker aptly (for a Woolf reference) titled Toby’s Room. It is due out in August, and once again, it comes via the VWoolf Listserv, this time from Stephen Barkway.
The Woolf reference is spelled out in a Guardian piece titled “The Big Novels of 2012,” and it reads:
Barker’s focus is art student Elinor Brooke, torn between a desperate desire for independence and a feeling (partly ascribed to Virginia Woolf, whom she briefly meets) that the war has nothing to do with women.
In this novel, Barker brings back students of the Slade School of Art, whom readers first met in her 2007 novel Life Class, set in 1941. It was a move she predicted during an interview with The Guardian back in 2007.
The narrative of Toby’s Room takes place between 1912 and 1917 and involves art student Elinor Brooke’s search for her brother Toby who is reported “Missing, Believed Killed” during World War I.
Watch an interview with Barker about the novel, and you will note even more similarities to Woolf.