Daisy & Woolf
Hachette, $32.99 pb, 296 pp
Daisy Simmons – twenty-four years old, the wife of a major in the Indian Army, mother of two children, ‘dark [and] adorably pretty’ – is an ephemeral presence in Virginia Woolf’s fourth novel, Mrs Dalloway (1925). Clarissa Dalloway’s former lover, Peter Walsh, has travelled to London from India to secure a divorce so that he might marry Daisy. From a mere handful of references, we are able to glean the wavering nature of Peter’s devotion to Daisy and his suspicion that she will, as Woolf writes, ‘look ordinary beside Clarissa’.