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To the Lighthouse Paperback – Unabridged, December 27, 1989
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It is practically impossible to read this book in little ten-minute spots, while watching television or babysitting. Don't try it; you'll end up not liking it.
It needs your time. Give it an hour with no interruptions. Get a bag of pistachios and read. Unplug the phone, turn off the TV. Read and don't stop. Then you'll discover the joy of Virginia Woolf -- for while her prose is tough, it is haunting, beautiful, and real.
Once you've settled into it, you'll discover a wonderful book, a tale of everyday life lived. Both intensely personal and incredibly universal, this book is life itself.
So, you want the real review. Alright, it's the story of a beach house, where reside the Ramseys and their various friends. Mrs. Ramsey is a goddess and nearly everyone worships her. This is more fun to read than it sounds. Lily Briscoe is a painter trying to figure out what she sees and what she loves.
There is a brutal twist in the middle, and the rest of the book is coping with that. No, I won't tell you what it is. Go read the book. It's great.
It's about beauty, about the incredible tragedy of time passing, about art and the world, about love and marriage, about people. It's not only a book about life, it is a book of life itself.
So maybe it's not written for our 30 second commercial, read at the bus stop age.
To the Lighthouse, like Woolf's previous novel, Jacob's Room, is a somewhat disjointed story, possessing numerous characters, points-of-view and conflicts. The overlapping and separation of the characters and their stories seems to result from both intention and oversight and is a product of what Woolf referred to as "all characters boiled down," and the "break of unity in my design."
The story centers around the summer vacation to the Isle of Skye of the Ramsey family, a family Woolf admitted was very much like her own. In fact, Woolf said that writing To the Lighthouse helped her "rub out" the obsessive memory of her own mother. Mrs. Ramsey, like Woolf's own mother, is a woman of decidedly Victorian ideals, choosing to focus on her home, her marriage and her family.
Interacting with Mrs. Ramsey is the character most representative of Woolf, herself, Lily Briscoe, a young girl who is staying in the same beachouse as the Ramseys. Unmarried, Lily draws both disapproval and sympathy from Mrs.Read more ›
This is a book about transitions; from childhood to adulthood, from an era of clearly defined roles to one of liberation; it is a book about the things people need from each other but have difficulty communicating; it is a book about the impossibility of communication and the other subtle ways we attempt to bridge the divide between ourselves and other people. I doubt these topics will ever be addressed as elegantly.
To the Lighthouse centers around the Ramsey family and the people they bring in their wake to their home on the Isle of Skye. Families in the world of this book are fragile things. The first half creates the Ramsey family group so well that when the second half is without it, the reader is constantly aware of the ghost images standing in the empty spaces. Meanwhile, Lily tries to understand the world she's in and make her painting by meditating about the Ramseys and how much has changed in the world around them.
The book is tremendously beautiful and sad. I'll look forward to re-reading it again in another ten years.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I first read Leonard Woolf's publication of (one of?) Virginia Woolf's diaries. As is my wont--I was a music major and didn't delve deeply into literature until after I retired--I... Read morePublished 2 days ago by P. Laster
Excelent presentation of the problem a Muslim faces, even when he understands and believes all of the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Read morePublished 4 days ago by John Bolten
I realize that this is suppose to be a great novel, I just could not get into it. It just seems to deal with a bunch of helpless neurotics and goes now where. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Bill Hartman
The copy was not as pictured. Same book different book cover. Over all pleased.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I bought this for an essay assignment on writing styles during the modernist period; Woolf used stream of consciousness and altering time periods, both of which were experimental... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Judy Phipps
If this book wasn't so well written, I'd give it 1 star. If it wasn't so dry, I'd give it 5 stars. Not since High School English class have I considered not finishing a book.Published 1 month ago by BJT
I am very glad that this book is finished! This is the first novel I've read of Virginia Woolf's and I am not impressed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Viktor Wolfe