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To the Lighthouse

Virginia Woolf

Average Review Rating Average Rating 6/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : William Collins

Published : 1927, 2013

Copyright : Virginia Woolf 1927

ISBN-10 : PB 0-00-793441-6
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-00-793441-6

Publisher's Write-Up

Every summer, the Ramsays visit their summer home on the beautiful Isle of Skye, surrounded by the excitement and chatter of family and friends, mirroring Virginia Woolf’s own joyful holidays of her youth. But as time passes, and in its wake the First World War, the transience of life becomes ever more apparent through the vignette of the thoughts and observations of the novel’s disparate cast.

A landmark of high modernism and the most autobiographical of Virginia Woolf’s novels, To the Lighthouse explores themes of loss, class structure and the question of perception, in a hauntingly beautiful memorial to the lost but not forgotten.

Chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.

About the Author:
Virginia Woolf was born in London in 1882, the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen, first editor of The Dictionary of National Biography. From 1915, when she published her first novel, The Voyage Out, Virginia Woolf maintained an astonishing output of fiction, literary criticism, essays and biography.

In 1912 she married Leonard Woolf, and in 1917 they founded The Hogarth Press. Virginia Woolf suffered a series of mental breakdowns throughout her life, and on 28 March 1941 she committed suicide.

'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.'

The Independent
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Annett Grosser-Rogoff (311013) Rating (6/10)

Review by Annett Grosser-Rogoff
Rating 6/10
To the Lighthouse by the well-known Virginia Woolf was one of the novels that cemented her status as one of the must-read writers of the twentieth century. The novel is based around the life of different people from or connected to one family living on the coast of Scotland. As time passes the Ramseys face the hardship of having to adapt and change. Woolf manages to show in her exceptional way the little ways and thoughts, decisions and withdrawal’s that make human life so real. Nothing is straightforward and the behaviour of her characters mimics the place they live in.

The constant repetition and slow change, the apparent indecisiveness that eventually leads to something we didn’t know we expected. The reader constantly expects something to happen, but even though it doesn’t, the story flows and keeps the interest at a steady level. To the Lighthouse, however, is a modern story that requires concentration. It has the typical characteristics of fragmental thinking and creating images which can cause a bit of confusion for the reader. Unless you follow every sentence thoroughly you can get lost in the description and wonder where you are at suddenly.

Modern fiction can be a little disturbing at points because there is no-one to guide you. You either get it or you don’t and Wolff is certainly a master in creating this atmosphere. Owing to her own well-known issues the reader is tempted to ask how much of herself she put into this work. And it seems like there is quite a bit of it. The ever returning question about why we’re here and what’s our purpose is intensely discussed in an indirect way, but of course there is no solution. What does the lighthouse stand for? What is its meaning? Where does it lead to and what’s the connection to Woolf’s real life? These questions are the main purpose for the reader to continue, otherwise it would be quite difficult to keep reading, as it’s too easy to get distracted..
Annett Grosser-Rogoff (31st October 2013)

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