Erik F.'s Reviews > To the Lighthouse

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
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's review
Jan 03, 2012

it was amazing

E.M. Forster once referred to this book as a "novel in sonata form." While the idea of literary works being based upon or compared to musical compositions is nothing new, Forster's remark appears a bit superficial when applied here. The novel's division into three distinct sections (or "movements") does seem to mirror the basic structure of a typical Classical-era sonata, but the mood and tempo of each do not vary considerably as they would in such a musical work – this is very much a "minor key", adagio-paced book from beginning to end, brimming with melancholy and wistful yet fervent introspection, slowly and methodically unraveling the contents of its characters' minds and hearts (their secrets, their yearnings, their regrets) before the reader's gaze. And while Woolf develops and intertwines her themes as skillfully as, say, Beethoven did his own, the gravitas, playfulness and pathos that emanate from the latter's sonatas are found on a more enigmatic and subtle scale within this sublime novel of the former. Everything simmers beneath the surface of the Ramsay family's ostensibly ordinary existence, wherein so many important things go unsaid or unaddressed externally, and yet Woolf, with her impressive insight into child/parent, husband/wife, sibling/sibling, time/memory, humanity/nature, perception/reality, art/life relationships, gives us the opportunity to truly enter, identify and feel every moment, detail and emotion she presents – all with the clarity and honesty of a genuine master. Stunningly poetic and effortlessly profound, this is a work that no serious reader will want to miss.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Studying this next semester - can't wait.

Erik F. Good! I read it a while back, but just now felt like writing something about it. I'm definitely rereading it someday.

message 3: by Miriam (new) - added it

Miriam Bridenne superbe review! Thank you.

Erik F. Miriam wrote: "superbe review! Thank you."

Thanks (for the compliment and the friend request)!

message 5: by Baz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Baz Reading this now, finally. :)

Erik F. Baz wrote: "Reading this now, finally. :)"

Great! Marvelous book.

Seemita Beautiful review.

Roger Brunyate That does not seem to be one of EMF's best observations (although any Woolf book could be described as musical), but it has led you to some wonderful observations of your own.

What is the splendid painting you use on your profile? R.

Erik F. Thank you, Seemita and Roger.

Roger, I have five paintings uploaded to my profile, but I assume you're referring to the one I'm currently using as my avatar. It's "Portrait of Edmond Maître" by Renoir.

Roger Brunyate Erik wrote: "I assume you're referring to the one I'm currently using as my avatar. It's "Portrait of Edmond Maître" by R..."

Yes, it is! And, to my amazement, a Renoir I actually like! It seemed much more early 20th-century than late-19th. R.

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