Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Book Review: To the Lighthouse

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

It is easy to forget that Woolf is a modernist. I read and enjoyed Mrs. Dalloway, though it wasn't an easy read, and I understand the stream of consciousness, the way the thoughts and narration flit around. To the Lighthouse took this to an extreme. The first section was not unlike Mrs. Dalloway, with seemless shifts in perspective, dialogue that we get through the perspective, not direct quotes. It is not always easy to follow the concrete action, but it makes some sense. The second section of the novel drops all that came before and falls into an abstract and nearly poetic mode. We do not see things through any character's mind, except maybe that of the house itself. The language in this section is beautiful and, though we learn some things about the intervening years, nothing happens. Then the third section comes and we're given a meding of the two previous modes. We get different character's points of view, but the abstractions are so great that it's hard to really graso what they're thinking. I like the stream of consciousness and the beauty of it, but not enough of it registered with me to really take anything from it.

No comments:

Post a Comment