Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one."

To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf 

252 pages

Genre:  Classics; Literature

Summary: To the Lighthouse is centered around the Ramsay family as they vacation somewhere along coastal Scotland.

Review:  Even though I was an English major in undergrad, I never encountered anything written by Virginia Woolf, and I’m honestly not quite sure how that happened.  To the Lighthouse marks my first foray into her body of work, and it definitely won’t be my last.

This novel was incredibly complex and it took me ages to get through, which was surprising since it’s such a slim volume.  It may seem as though I didn’t like the novel because of this, but that’s definitely not the case; it’s just a difficult read.  I really enjoyed that this work didn’t focus as much on the plot, but rather focused on the psychology of the characters.  The way in which Woolf put her characters under the microscope to reveal their inner workings was incredibly interesting, and I oftentimes found myself relating to them.

For me, the thing that stands out most, however, is the way in which this book was written.  I’ve never really encountered a style like Woolf’s before, and her prose is truly something to behold.  The images and insights she was able to craft with her words were incredibly illuminating, and many of her passages were downright lyrical.

I’m sure I haven’t truly absorbed everything this novel has to offer through just one read, and I’ll definitely revisit it again in the future.

If you enjoy classics that explore the concept of psychological examination, give To the Lighthouse a try.

Rating:  3.5/5

Read-alikes:  The Awakening – Kate Chopin, The Hours - Michael Cunningham

Other Books by Virginia WoolfOrland,  Mrs. Dalloway, A Room of One’s Own, The Waves


  1. From what I've heard, Woolf played with style a lot, so don't count on the others being the same. The only one I've read wasn't really like that. It was okay, but didn't seem all that special (or maybe I was in the wrong mood, etc).

  2. PS: I think you're going to make your reading goal, haha

  3. Yeah, I think you definitely need to be in the right mood for Virginia Woolf. Her subject matter reminded me of Kate Chopin for some reason, and since she's one of my favorite authors, it helps to explain why I enjoyed this book, too.

    haha, I hope so! I keep on picking up super thick books to read (one is over 900 pages and the other is at least 700, plus my usual assortment of random books), so we'll do how I do with my 100 book goal.

  4. We can "do how I do" or "see how I do." haha