To the Lighthouse
“Radiant as [To the Lighthouse] is in its beauty, there could never be a mistake about it: here is a novel to the last degree severe and uncompromising. I think that beyond being about the very nature of reality, it is itself a vision of reality.”—Eudora Welty, from the Introduction
The serene and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, and their children and assorted guests are on holiday on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, Woolf constructs a remarkable, moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life and the conflict between men and women.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
This is a difficult book to read and to like unless you've reached that state of mind where you can digest words without even actively trying to understand the whole winding paragraphs. 'To the Lighthouse' is a story by several multiple POV characters that centered around the existence of the lighthouse and the metaphors around the interaction and characterization of the book's residents. Virginia Woolf uses a literary technique called stream of consciousness where every character in this book have a chance to be the narrator's voice without the necessity of an observant out of the picture narrator as the narratives of each of the characters somehow bloated up the book enough that the plot is even rendered unnecessary. And this is the essay I did on the book : "Lighthouse" in a sense, a building guiding light penetrating the darkness of the ocean. It emphasize directly on the novel which was mostly surround itself with the inner workings of the minds and as a way to enable the characterization progression and it gave a scope of understanding through the depth of each personalities and psychologically. Although the plot of the novel was given less consideration but can be wholly redefined as the focus of the novel was foremost the characterizations. Those includes; what a person thinks or do things and what motivate them or what was their desires and their hopes which was magnified by just using words. Woolf had carefully paraphrase the multivariate narrations without compromising on the stylistic substances but its not hard to avoid being displaced by the continuous writing and the ephemeral quality of its prose. She managed to sum up human values and its intricacies between seemingly contradictory characters and unfailingly giving each their own personal voices surrounding the events inside the story. Mrs Ramsey was the most prominent voice throughout the novel. Her observation on the world and people around her was contrasted differently between her and her family and friends. Mr Ramsey provided a darker side that was a direct contrast to Mrs Ramsey. However, the style of the book compensate his actions as the narrative give an insight to his characterization down to his deep insecurity and how Mrs Ramsey complement him in their relationship. The novel provide a pathway of greater understanding of the relationship between each other and how it correlates and subsequently resulted in changes or character developments. In a way, "To The Lighthouse" is a coming of age novel at its core and as a guiding light toward a greater form of humanity. But this book is extremely exhausting to read in one sitting. I've read this a few times with audiobooks and I still don't know how on earth a person could write this way. Since someone said that this style is also used in Joyce's Ulysses, I am taking even a step farther away from that book. I don't think I have the right age to read this. I probably will mellow down in years and retry reading this book with a different perspective.
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
I thought that I would be put off by the writing style - but I actually found the "stream of thought" worked well for me. However, as I read this novel, regarded by many as one of the greatest of the 20th century, I had moments where I was jarred by something and it took me a while to understand it. The story, at least at a superficial level, tells the story of a married couple, their eight children, and various hanger-on'ers during a vacation in the North of Scotland. I kept being jarred in the narrative and thought to myself that here is a story about a mother, a father, and some children and I don't think the writer ever had children. A quick check confirmed that she never had children - and so it begs that question; can someone really tell the internal narrative stream-of-thought style of someone raising children when they haven't done it. Once I had decided that, I was jarred the entire rest of the novel and I'm pretty sure that wasn't her intention (there are other more jarring and purposeful bits). At the end, though, I enjoyed it much more than I was expecting. It is more than worthy of a re-read at a future date.