To The Lighthouse

No sooner had I finalised my Classics Club list when Sync Read#3 started; To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. This is one of my favourite classics; I first read it at 18 and then wrote my dissertation on it, along with Mrs Dalloway and The Waves and have dipped in and out over the years. I have now shamelessly used this as an excuse to read it again rather than getting on with all the books on the list that I haven’t read yet.

I remember when I first read To The Lighthouse I was struck by the writing. I remember thinking that I had never read anything that I felt I understood so completely without understanding how. The book is not about facts and occurrences, it is about feelings and emotions, the undulations a human passes through several times in a day. The language is lyrical and descriptive; metaphor is very much favoured over statement of fact. The everyday is revered, much like Joyce, but although Woolf concerns herself still with the middle class rather than working class, her novels make sense in a way that Joyce’s never did, especially Ulysses. For me, Ulysses was sudden flashes of brilliance amidst a fog of confusion. To The Lighthouse is an insight into how people are, overflowing with empathy and understanding. It transports me to a country house in Scotland and displays it to me through the sharpest of glass panes. I am delighted to be reading it again.

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