Category Archives: to the lighthouse

Disturbingly Familiar, Ms. Wolfe

This tome was an interesting one and I believe Heather and I will differ on this one.  We do talk about the books outside of this blog believe it or not.  And we don’t text, although we love the written word, we do old school phone conversations. And yes, I use hands free and talk during the trek home from work.  Using my time as wisely as I can!!

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolfe is a story about relationships.  Divided into three sections, in a time continuum.  The first section is written from various points of view through a window.  We are introduced to all the chato-the-lighthouse-coverracters as they look through the window.  I enjoyed this section mainly because it is from the view origin of the mother while reading a book to her youngest son.  The story develops each of the characters in an unique way whether a thoughtful stare, a glance or a pointed look through the window.

Section 2 is a time warp through to the future.  An interesting way to pass time in a literary piece.  The section is fragments of time as if describing a photo album through the years but better.  I did not like this section because the big events in the family, good or bad, were inserted via italicized sentences.  Oh by the way the women you became attached to in the first section oh she died.  Moving on..

Section 3 is finally getting to go to the lighthouse.  This section is when the father finally takes the kids, as young adults, begrudgingly to the lighthouse.

This book resonated with me because of the relationships through the book, in particular those between women and men.  Wolfe delves into each type of relationship, mother/son, husband/wife, lovers, and acquaintances.  I enjoyed reading about them all.  Some of them were disturbingly familiar to friends and family relationships I observed over the years.  I would expand on this notion but in the off chance any one is reading this blog, I may offend.

The tortured relationship between the husband and wife based on love was a wonderful tale of many couples.  Not perfect.  They knew each other extremely well and loved each other for all the imperfections and faults.  The children’s misunderstanding of their parents marriage develops through the story.  Each interpreting glances, phrases and body language differently.  Some of these kids will need therapy, I am sure!!  Their father is a tough character to explain.  He is not the kindest nor the most loving father, this is for sure.  He is a lost soul, in my opinion, in a life that he does not feel is as he planned.  Father is a melancholy, dreamer seeking to hold on to his diminishing prestige.  Mother is, as all mothers through time, trying to hold life for her family together.  Then she dies.  (See, isn’t that awful to just throw it out there? Shiver.)

 Make this one a bedtime book. It’s a great read, but I can close it, turn off the light, and zzzz….

Make this one a bedtime book. It’s a great read, but I can close it, turn off the light, and zzzz….

I liked this tome and give it an EMM… I almost gave it an EMME but the Time Warp section did me in.  I am behind Heather but trying to catch up!  Half way through An American Tragedy.  (I know it won’t be a happy ending just by the title)

Grab a book, any book and READ!!

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I Made it to the Lighthouse

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf is another book that had me questioning the editors’ choices for Modern Library’s list, but the novel was also included in TIME magazine’s list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923-2005, so I guess it must be me and my annoying preference for a linear plot line. Once I wrestled past that issue and let it go (see what I did there, Frozen fans?) it was easier for me to settle in and enjoy the language – to a certain extent.

Lighthouse

The novel tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay and their eight children, who are spending time at their summer home on the Isle of Skye. The novel opens with Mrs. Ramsay talking with her son James about visiting the lighthouse, which Mr. Ramsey opposed due to the weather forecast. This plan and conversation are returned to throughout the novel. They are joined at the summerhouse by a number of friends and colleagues, with an artist and poet among the group. The first section of the book “The Window” offers the thoughts and perspectives of the various characters; the second section “Time Passes” returns to this same space 10 years later; the final section “The Lighthouse” delves into a few of the characters’ relationships more fully.

Throughout the novel, the focus is on introspection and philosophical observation, versus plot and dialogue. While there are some basic plot points, they are treated as kind of a dot on the timeline of the Ramsay family, and some of the most seemingly important events are written as parenthetical asides.

That being said, I realized when I went back through my notes and highlights on the Kindle that I did mark quite a few interesting and/or beautiful passages. I’m including a few here, with the Kindle location marker:

“When she looked in the glass and saw her hair gray, her cheeks sunk, at fifty, she thought, possibly she might have managed things better…” (loc 99)

“She often felt she was nothing but a sponge sopped full of human emotion.” (loc 455)

“She could have wept. It was bad, it was bad, it was infinitely bad. “ (loc 673)  This is my favorite – I will probably start using it often. “So Heather, how was the movie?” “I could have wept. It was bad, it was bad, it was infinitely bad.” Love it.

“The words seemed to be dropped into a well, where, if the waters were clear, they were also so extraordinarily distorting…” (loc 761)

“She seemed afraid of nothing – except bulls. At the mere sight of a bull in a field she would throw up her arms and fly screaming, which was the very thing to enrage a bull of course.” (loc 1030)

“Every time he approached – he was walking up and down the terrace – ruin approached, chaos approached.” (loc 1994)

“Then he would look up benevolently as always, from his smoky vague green eyes” (2401)  I love a good eye description.

This novel does get a point for using the word “lugubrious”, which jumps off the page for me whenever I see it after being introduced to the word during GRE exam prep (it was not on the exam).

I’m sorry Virginia Woolf fans – I feel like I should like it more, but it’s getting an

EM

Maybe I could’ve finished sooner, but every distraction was an excuse to close this tome

from me.

Onwards we go – I just finished #18 – Slaughterhouse Five, so reviews to come soon about the two novels between these!

Keep Reading!