- Series: To the Lighthouse
- Paperback: 209 pages
- Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; First edition (December 27, 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0156907399
- ISBN-13: 978-0156907392
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 474 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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To the Lighthouse Paperback – Unabridged, December 27, 1989
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âRadiant 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.ââEudora 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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I actually read the party scene that culminates the novel's first section out loud to my wife, which took a solid hour and was incredibly emotional and moving. That long scene is a real jaw-dropper, a masterpiece within a masterpiece. Warning: if you try reading it out loud and sort of act out the parts and dialogue, your voice may crack.
However, some people do bounce right off To the Lighthouse, as they do with any book. I urged it on my brother in law, and he bogged down and was lost immediately in the richly layered first section. If that happens to you, here is my advice: read it in reverse order. Start with the last section, the trip to the lighthouse, which is very straightforward. Then read the short middle section, Time Passes, which is only slightly less clear. Then tackle the first section, which portrays the Ramsay family and their friends socializing at the beach house and debating whether to sail to the lighthouse.
The character of the painter Lilly Briscoe in the first section fascinates me, as does her reappearance in the final act.
A book to read - and then read again.