I re-read this book before I read Michael Cunningham's book "The Hours," just so I could accurately compare and contrast the two books for a paper I was writing at the time. I have to admit that they are both excellent reads. I was also very impressed that they did such a wonderful movie adaptation as well.
Anyways, this book is about Clarissa Dalloway. She goes around London in the morning, getting ready to host a party that evening. The nice day reminds her of her youth at Bourton and makes her wonder about her choice of husband -- she married the reliable Richard Dalloway instead of the enigmatic Peter Walsh. Peter himself complicates her thoughts by paying a visit, having returned from India that day.
Septimus Smith, a veteran of World War I, spends his day in the park with his wife Lucrezia. He suffers from constant and indecipherable hallucinations. He commits suicide by jumping out of a window.
Clarissa's party in the evening is a slow success. It is attended by most of the characters she has met in the book, including people from her past. She hears about Septimus' suicide at the party, and gradually comes to admire the act -- which she considers an effort to preserve the purity of his own happiness.
It's a very moving story dealing with real life issues. I throughly enjoyed this book and it's one I re-visit from time to time.