St Ives, Cornwall
How so? To be so completely immersed in the inner thoughts of the characters was a challenge for the absolute seriousness of their thought processes. The idea that kept occurring to me was that no-one has thoughts this dour! Each character, to me, seemed fairly plunged into gloom, perseverating on the same themes, winding around in circles of both self-consciousness and ambitions of belonging.
Reading each character's stream was an immersive experience, to the point that I found myself going off on my own thoughts and coming around again only to realize I'd read half a page and hadn't taken a thing in! So while I enjoyed this thought immersion, I also found myself unable to read it if I wasn't paying particular attention to focussing on the character. Did anyone else have this experience?
As you probably know if you have done any bit of reading on the book we are dealing with quite a bit of autobiography here. Virginia Woolf's own family had a summer home in Cornwall and there was a lighthouse located out to sea, past similar gardens and a bay. The character Mrs. Ramsay was modelled on Virginia Woolf's mother, who died when Virginia was only 13.
The sometimes frustrating thought process of Lily Briscoe was an exploration of Virginia Woolf's own writing methods, as well as a nod to her sister Vanessa Bell, the painter.
James is modelled on their brother Adrian.
The house as well as time itself become characters of some importance:
"So with the house empty and the doors locked and the mattresses rolled round, those stray airs, advance guards of great armies, blustered in, brushed bare boards, nibbled and fanned, met nothing in bedroom or drawing-room that wholly resisted them but only hangings that flapped, wood that creaked, the bare legs of tables, saucepan and china already furred, tarnished, cracked." (Chapter 4, Time Passes)
Virginia Woolf Explores and English Country Home (NYT)
I really liked this biography: Virginia Woolf Biography
As well as this take on the book: To The Lighthouse is really a book about summer holidays.
However what I'm really looking forward to is any thoughts you might have on the book, whether you've read all or part, don't be shy, chime in!