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To the Lighthouse

by Virginia Woolf 

Review of To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

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       Contrary to the points made here that this book has no plot, or that the stream of consciousness style is dull and boring, I thought this book was simply genius. Yes, Woolf admittedly borrows pages from James Joyce's playbook, but she succeeds in her own way of capturing the dreams and emotions of each character in a totally understated manner that only serves to accentuate their significance. There were so many instances, like when Mr. Ramsey muses on what comes after Q, where you feel like he could explode at any moment. Or when Charles Tansley had hold of Mrs. Ramsey's bag and you could just feel the anticipation and violence of infatuation. Moreover, the beautiful way in which temporality is infused into this novel makes it an incredible display of the passage of time, and the often ravaging effects of time on the human condition. Events are finite, as shown beautifully by Woolf in the "Time Passes" section of the book, but our thoughts and emotions are continuous, altered and shaped by these finite events that seem to change the direction of their flow.

       Woolf said that 'the seas is to be heard all through [it],' and her prose by all means achieves this aim. I'm re-reading this book now about 6 years after picking it up for the first time during my first year at Columbia. As the passage of time has drastically altered my own life situation from my initial hopes, intentions, and plans [initially a Wall St. monkey, now teaching & writing in Korea and unsure of my future], I am at once touched by Woolf's novel, and am thoroughly reminded of her genius in conveying the relationship between time and humanity!

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf was reviewed by DNam

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       This book was absolutely aweful. I've read great things about this book but they must've been fans or family of the author. This book has no plot and no character I could relate to. I could admit that the writing was well done, in particular the 100 word sentences, but I just didn't enjoy reading this. It was told in a stream of conscious style where you are taken into the inner most thoughts of the characters but these characters are dull and lack any spice. Picture watching a movie where nothing happens and no one says anything. If this book was a film it would basically be a group of actors making faces at the character to show their emotions rather than allowing us to share into what is really going on. Even writing this review I couldn't think of any part of this book I would recommend. Even as a writer myself, though I could appreciate the writer's  skill with words, I could not appreciate the author's craft. How does a book like To the Lighthouse make this list and novels like They're Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and Appointment in Sammarra by John O'Hara does not? This book would get a 1 out 10. If I were grading it this book would get an F. You could really pass on this one. I promise!

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf was reviewed by Frank Manner

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       When i first started reading this book i thought it was gonna be one of those books you have first negative impressions of but turn out to be good, like say, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, etc, but instead it just remains in that frame; dull and boring. I don't think this book has a plot, however it is written in a manner where the reader can be in par with the character's thoughts; this alone kept me reading to the end. Throughout the book i neglected the objective of the characters of the book and just nuanced on how the writer's point of view, through characterization, reflected mine.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf was reviewed by Vinicio Winai


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