The big family of the beautiful Mrs. Ramsay stays during the summer in their their guest-house on the island Skye. The family Ramsay and a few other guests consisting of the frustrated artist Lily Briscoe, the obsessed student Charles Tansley and the two lovers Paul and Minta are charmed by the motherly love of Mrs. Ramsay. James Ramsay, their son wanted so badly to go to the Lighthouse but his philosophical father thwarts him every time. After a few years when a lot happened to the family Ramsay, James is able to make his long wanted trip to the lighthouse.
To the Lighthouse is classified as a modern story and contains lots of elements of the literary style. First of all, one cannot describe this book as an eventful story. It’s quite the opposite by any means that memories and thoughts play an important role throughout the whole story. I never read a book almost completely written in stream of consciousness so it was quite a challenge. Besides, not only the main characters’ memories were given but one could also read the other characters’ memories which in literary terms is named multiperspectivism. Though I found it intriguing to know the characters’ thoughts I really missed some thrilling adventures. This subjectivism and perspectivism contribute to the label of modernism To the Lighthouse is given.
Honestly, I have had a love-hate relation with this book and it took me seven months to finish it. To the Lighthouse was my first modern novel I ever read. Virginia Woolf’s reputation as a feminist author persuaded me to read it. Besides, I was curious what it was like to read a modern novel. There were some paragraphs I appreciated but my general opinion is that the major part of the story didn’t push you to read further. I did enjoy the descriptions of the coast and how the characters react to each other. Unfortunately, the whole point of this story is that the reader gets to know what the characters are thinking as an individual and as a result there isn’t so much interaction between them. It is the reader’s task to put all these thoughts and memories together and make one complete picture of it. Furthermore, I liked how everyone admired Mrs. Ramsay as she were a mysterious powerful woman who in reality only tried to influence others’ decisions and tried to understand her husband Mr. Ramsay. I gave this book a four out of five rating because I was fascinated how each character thought about time and time passing by. This aspect of the story added a higher value to the book.