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#13 – To the Lighthouse

August 23, 2010

To the Lighthouse took me a little while to understand. It’s been awhile since I read Mrs. Dalloway, and I’d forgotten about the stream of consciousness style that Virginia Woolf writes so well.

Once I remembered that there would be no action moving the story forward, I just relaxed into the novel. I enjoy that style of writing because I can relate to the characters…my mind often wanders in exactly the way Woolf writes for her characters, and it’s a pleasure to read that way. I actually feel less distracted by it (I can’t tell you how many pages of books I’ve reread because I started to turn the page and realized I was thinking about what to make for dinner instead of focusing on the story, prompted by the word “biscuit” or something similar).

It’s a character study really, but because nothing much happens to these people, I didn’t really get emotionally invested. I understood what I was supposed to be understanding, but I didn’t really care about the characters. For instance, a friend noticed what I was reading and asked, “Doesn’t the main character die halfway through?” “Yes, but it’s not really a big deal.” But it IS a big deal. It completely changes how the rest of the characters think and feel for the rest of the book, but to me it didn’t have any impact, thus my reaction.

But that doesn’t impact my enjoyment of the book. I really liked reading it, and I look forward to reading more Woolf in the future.


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