To the Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf, 1927
~300 pp. (Varies by publisher.)
The novel is one of Woolf's most successful and accessible experiments in the modernist mode, including stream-of-consciousness. The three sections of the book take place between 1910 and 1920 and revolve around various members of the Ramsay family and their guests during visits to their summer residence on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.
Section I —"The Window": young James Ramsay fervently hopes to visit the lighthouse on the following day, but while his mother assures him, his father insists they will have to call off the trip due to weather. Various guests and colleagues interact with one another as Mrs. Ramsay attempts to placate all. The story progresses through shifting points of view.
Section II — "Time Passes": an omniscient narrator takes over to inform us about the war and the fates of some of the characters from the first section.
Section III— "The Lighthouse": Mr. Ramsay returns to the family's deserted summer home 10 years after the book's initial events. He and two of his children decide to sail out to visit the lighthouse. While they are gone, Lily Brisco, one of the previous guests, finishes an uncompleted painting. (Adapted from Wikipedia.)
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