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3.7 out of 5 stars
168
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 April 2017
Hard work getting through it and we never went to the damn lighthouse till the last few pages! Overall, when reflecting back having read the book there is a sense of completeness which you do not realise early on in the book.
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on 18 August 2017
Heavy read - well written and an enjoyable read.
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on 20 June 2017
Good reading
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on 16 August 2017
fascinating read
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on 3 August 2017
This one-star is for the incorrect edition I received. However, the novel is amazing! I ordered a Folio edition but what I received is some other cheap edition not worthy of the money I spent!To The Lighthouse
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on 16 May 2017
Good condition
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on 20 February 2016
i love it
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on 9 August 2009
The plot of this book on the surface does not seem necessarily like it would engender a classic: a family with a caustic father, a loving mother and a youngest son who despises his father and in this particular instance wants to visit a lighthouse out in the ocean, a desire his father opposes. However, Woolf infuses this story with her fabulous (I think) writing style and a breadth of insights and observations that leave one fascinated and thinking throughout. Her writing style includes long sentences and a flow consciousness that some might find too burdensome. Somehow her writing reminds me of Sylvia Plath, with that same brilliance of wordplay. Quite simply it is a great book.
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Virginia Woolf's fifth novel 'To the Lighthouse' and her fourth novel 'Mrs Dalloway' are, for me, the most enjoyable of her books and I have read and reread these novels several times over the years and, with each reading, I continue to find much to enjoy. 'To the Lighthouse' focuses on the Ramsay family and their friends and is set on the Isle of Skye, where the Ramsay family have a dilapidated, but comfortable, holiday home. The story is divided into three parts: the first part is set over a single day at the end of summer before the First World War; the second part is set in an interlude of ten years when, due to various events, including WWI, the house in Skye remains unoccupied and falls into sad disrepair; and the third part focuses on the long overdue return visit to the old house by some of the family members and their friends. In the first part, we read of the beautiful and charming Mrs Ramsay, who is the mother of eight children - all of whom she recognises have their individual talents, and all of whom love her and rely on her for her affection and understanding. Mr Ramsay is an intelligent, impatient man, who can be insensitive to other people's needs, but who demands sympathy and understanding from others, particularly his wife. In fact Mr Ramsay's insensitivity comes to the fore when he seems to take pleasure in thwarting his wife's plans for visiting the lighthouse, which bitterly disappoints his youngest son who has been looking forward to the trip with longing. Amongst the guests at the Ramsays' home, is artist Lily Briscoe, who observes the scenes unfolding before her whilst she meditates on her paintings and who thinks that 'pictures are more important than people'...

As always with Virginia Woolf, 'To the Lighthouse' is an exquisitely written novel, where the author uses to great effect a stream of consciousness narrative which enables her to reveal her characters' inner lives and to reveal the vulnerabilities and complexities of those lives. She focuses not so much on what happens to her characters, but instead focuses on how her characters feel and, with her beautifully honed and wonderfully lyrical prose, she explores her protagonists' inner thoughts and imaginings particularly well. Her descriptions of the passing of time, and of the changes wrought by the intervening years between the first part of the the story and the last, is absolutely luminous, as are her references to the sea and of its rhythms and flow - a motif which Woolf later explored further in her ambitious and brilliant 'The Waves'. This particular novel, with its perceptive examination of domestic dynamics, is considered to be the most autobiographical of Virginia Woolf's novels, where she not only recreates parts of her own family life (at Talland House, their holiday home in Cornwall, near to the Godrevy Lighthouse in St Ives Bay) but also draws from her parents' personalities for her portrayal of Mr and Mrs Ramsay - in fact, Virginia Woolf's sister, the artist Vanessa Bell, commented to Woolf that her portrait of their mother was almost painfully real. I'm not quite sure how many times I have read 'To the Lighthouse' over the years, but I always gain something more with each reading and look forward with pleasure to future readings of this beautifully haunting story.

5 Stars.
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on 7 August 2017
Depending on your point of view, one of the celebrated or berated aspects of Virginia Woolf’s writing is the way in which plot abandoned in favour of examining the minutiae, holding a microscope to a human emotion or, as in the central section in this book, the manner in which a house deteriorates over time, and of course time itself is a subject that Woolf returns to frequently, regular readers of Woolf will know this from Mrs Dalloway or short stories like A Haunted House, where Woolf is constantly examining and questioning what time is and what it does, if anything at all.

There is little point in discussing plot in a review as it could be argued that there is none in To The Lighthouse, but it is beautifully written and poetry and lyricism lurk at the back of every sentence and paragraph. Woolf is, in my opinion, the greatest of the modernist writers, and there were no bad ones, they were all genius in their own way, reaching for something that was not there, but, for me, Woolf seemed to beyond this, leaving behind literature and entering the sublime.

If you like modernist writing where every word and space means something than you will like this.
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