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To the Lighthouse Paperback – Unabridged, December 27, 1989
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. British actress Juliet Stevenson makes for a better reader of Woolf's words than Nicole Kidman's Oscar-winning turn as Woolf in The Hours. Stevenson carefully sorts through Woolf's famously tangled modernist masterpiece about the interior lives of a well-to-do British family, and the ways in which the First World War permanently damaged European society. She reads in an amplified hush, her exaggeratedly formal British diction adding poignancy to the sense of dislocation and disorder that marks the book's transition from pre- to postwar. Her reading is quietly, carefully precise, and that precision is a solid complement to Woolf's own measured, inward-looking prose. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
"To The Lighthouse is one of the greatest elegies in the English language, a book which transcends time" -- Margaret Drabble "It is an elegy for lost times and family life" * The Week * "Thrillingly introspective" -- Katy Guest * The Independent * --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
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But Ms. James does pay homage to the "new" police procedural style by at least offering an explanation of why the CSIs (called SOCO's in Brit-speak, for I think Scene of Crime Officer) do not appear--the crime takes place on an isolated (fictional) "Combe Island," off the coast of Cornwall, and then . . . ah, but best not to say any more.
As always, the characters are expertly drawn (my favorite is the young woman, Millie, who Ms. James, now in her 80s, seems to understand very well), the scenes expertly set, the clues all there for you. But will you guess whodunit before Ms. James is ready to tell you? That, of course, is always the pleasure in a James novel. It's always a treat to play along, perhaps re-reading certain scenes when something comes to "AD's" mind. Or your own.
And, again as always, the novel is very cinematic--many of the books in the series have been seen on BBC television--and maybe you'll start casting the movie version in your head.
It gives away nothing to say that at the end of "The Lighthouse," Adam Dalgliesh and his associates Kate Miskin and Francis Benton-Smith leave the scene by helicopter. In your mind maybe you'll hear the noise of the chopper, as it "soars above a white tumble of clouds into the shining air."
Roll the credits.
Interesting mystery and writing.