I have been wanting to read some Virginia Woolf for a while, but I had been told that her books are very difficult to read and so had been putting it off. When I saw the Woolf in Winter read-along I decided it was the perfect opportunity to give her a try, as difficult texts are always easier when you have a group of people to read along with. Emily is hosting the discussion for To the Lighthouse today, so please pay her a visit if you’d like to join in!
I was pleasantly surprised when I read the first few pages of To the Lighthouse – it was much easier to read than I had expected it to be. Yes, the sentences were often long and meandering, but I found it easy to follow and some of the descriptions were strangely fascinating.
It is odd that in copying the above paragraph down I realised how little of it makes sense. It is a collection of random thoughts, but I didn’t worry too much about understanding why every little word was used - I just enjoyed the images they created.
The book begins with a young boy wanting to visit a lighthouse, but being told that it probably won’t be possible to go. I thought the scene was set beautifully, but I soon discovered that nothing else was going to happen. In the final part of the book, set many years later, they head out to visit the lighthouse, but that is all that happens. There is no plot, simply observations of small scenes – this lack of any action meant that it turned out to be quite a boring book. It was very short, so I had no trouble finishing it, but in the end I was left with a feeling of disappointment. If the book had been much longer, but with more interesting events occuring, then I’m sure I would have enjoyed it as I had no objection to the writing style.
Overall, I’m afraid I just didn’t connect with this book. It felt more like an introduction to a set of characters than a novel in its own right. I don’t think I’ll be reading any more of Woolf’s work.
Have you read To the Lighthouse?
Did you enjoy it?