Friday, July 25, 2014

To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Have you ever read a book that you absolutely adored, but could just not articulate what exactly about it you loved so much? 

Then you understand how much trouble I'm having trying to write about this book.

To The Lighthouse is unlike the books I usually read in that it is not based around a plot. Nothing particularly dramatic or exciting happens in terms of events, there are no real twists or unexpected turns. Instead, it revolves around the internal conflicts of the characters and their relationships to each other. It is a very human novel in that it is primarily concerned with characters' experiences and perceptions of each other. It does not concern itself with who is right or wrong; instead it seeks to depict the thoughts and experiences of the characters straightforwardly and honestly in an attempt to understand. Woolf tackles such complexities as family dynamics, conflicts of gender, transitions from childhood to adulthood, and coping with mortality and the passing of time.

The narration is absolutely beautiful. Even at the beginning of the book, when I admit I was not 100% sure what exactly was going on, I was so captivated by the way the story was written that I could not stop reading. The stream of consciousness narration offers a captivating and unapologetically honest look into the thoughts, beliefs, fears, and desires of each character featured. 

I think what I enjoyed most about this book is how intimately connected I felt to Woolf while I was reading it. This is not the kind of book that you can write without drawing considerably from your own experiences; the more I read the more I felt I understood the way she viewed the world, and the more I wished I shared her understanding of it. She makes you aware of things that you have always overlooked, but that once they are pointed out all you can say is "Yes, of course. Exactly." She finds the significance in the seemingly insignificant and the words to articulate things that you never realized you couldn't explain. And once she has said them you can't help but wonder how you never noticed it before.

I know that this type of book is not for everyone, but I also believe that this is a book that has the potential to speak meaningfully to anyone willing to listen. If you are looking to try out a classic, I would definitely recommend giving this one a shot. As for me, I believe this is only the beginning of what I expect will be long love affair with Virginia Woolf's work.

Have you read any of Woolf's books? If so, what is your favorite? I've been told I absolutely must read Mrs. Dalloway next. Or are there any other classic authors that you love? Tell me all about them in the comments!


  1. Hitting the nail on the head there, thats how i feel about so much art, I love it, buuuut, don't ask me why.

    As for Woolf, some of it I love, some of it, naaaaah

    1. It's so frustrating, haha. It doesn't happen often, but this book was just hard for me to nail down. It was more the experience of reading it that I loved more so than anything specific about the book itself, I think.

      I think a lot of authors are that way. I'm really looking forward to making my way through the rest of her books though.

      Thanks for stopping by! (:


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