All Passion Spent- Vita Sackville-West


She wondered which wounds went deeper: the jagged wounds of reality, or the profound invisible bruises of the imagination?”– Vita Sackville-West, All Passion Spent

I loved this book, one of the best novels I’ve read so far this year. Former Vicereine, Lady Deborah Slane, is not your typical protagonist. She is 88 years old and is recently widowed after a marriage of 70 years. Lady Slane decides to live the independent life she had always dreamed of, much to the chagrin of her snobby children. She moves to a small cottage far from her children and thinks back on her youth, marriage, life as a political hostess, and motherhood.

Despite all the wealth and opulence in her life, her children and her dutiful husband, Lady Slane’s life hadn’t truly been happy. Her musings show that the things society often says are good for women may not actually be so in reality, and that many women often have to hide their true desires, and have had their youthful desires dashed or pushed to the side:

Youth is full of hopes reaching out, youth will burn the river and set all the belfries of the world ringing; there is not only love to be considered, there are also such things as fame and achievement and genius—which might be in one’s heart, knocking against one’s ribs, who knows?

The language in this book was so beautiful and philosophical. I probably have very little in common with Lady Slane, being from a different ethnicity, era, and class;  yet I was able to put myself in her shoes. It was quite the experience.

It was a contemplative novel and there was a lot of wisdom in the pages:

 “Nothing earns respect so quickly as letting your fellows see that you are a match for them. Other methods may earn you respect in the long run, but fir a short-cut there is nothing like setting a high valuation on yourself and forcing others to accept it. Modesty, moderation, consideration, nicety—no good; they don’t pay.

This was a good book to read on International Women’s Day. Because of its content, it made me dwell on what it must feel like for a woman having to sacrifice her dreams for a husband and motherhood. Perhaps not so common in the West nowadays, but in many other parts of the world this is still the case. Women getting forced into a certain role when perhaps they aren’t ready, or they are interested in pursuing a different path is tragic.

Recommended to fans of Elizabeth Von Armin.


11 thoughts on “All Passion Spent- Vita Sackville-West

      1. I have them all still because I exported all of my Goodreads data. It means I have an enormous spreadsheet, which I’m keeping updated. They were all removed from the site though so that evil Amazon couldn’t use them. 😛

      2. Yes I am. I can’t quite leave because I get such good book recommendations there. It is getting to be very overwhelming for me though so I’m not spending as much time on there as before. I bet you’re really thrilled to be free of that place:)

      3. Aww! I miss the book recommendations, but I’ve taken it over by looking at more book blogs and spending a lot of time browsing online bookstores for recommendations instead. I found it quite overwhelming towards the end too, and I’m sorry you’re having the same problems! I am, but I do miss the interaction with people! 😦

      4. Last year I reviewed a handful of very popular books (Americanah is one of them) and because of those reviews I’ve gotten way too many friend requests, it really is overwhelming! I think there’s a way for me to limit what I see on my update page so I might do that. Did any of your former Goodreads friends follow you over here?

        You know what’s funny? I think you are one of the few people on GR who I had long online discussions with about books. When you deleted your account all your comments went with you and now it looks like I’m crazy and was having conversations with myself 😀

      5. Aww! Your reviews are fabulous though, so you should be flattered! I can understand how annoying it must be though. I had lots of people adding me as friends just because I was a librarian and they wanted me to change odd things here and there. Yes, there is, and it’s so helpful – I used to get it to show only reviews from friends rather than those I followed too, because I found myself trawling through far too many books before I could read a good review sometimes! I have a few followers from GR, and Sigourney started a blog (I think you knew here too!) which is lovely.

        Aww! I’m sorry! 😛

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