Monday, May 20, 2013

To The Lighthouse

After our gathering to discuss Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse I stand by my previous post, but acknowledge that the discussion it invoked was robust and intriguing.  

Indeed, large portions of the story occur inside the minds of each of the characters.  Melinda pointed out that it was a great study in how different reality is from what we think is happening.  While they had dinner each of the dinner guests had a completely different take on the conversation and interactions.  No one really had a clear take on the others motivations – and in most cases the assumptions being made were 100% removed from the true thoughts of the other persons.

As for my frustration with the pace and flow of the narrative, Christine was adamant that the details that Mrs. Woolf left out simply didn’t matter.   Yes, character A was dead and we don’t need to know why or how, or even what the others thought or experienced when it occurred.  They were dead and it is final.   We didn’t all (me) agree, but I respect her take on the narrative.

It is probably safe to predict that T.T.L. will not earn our Book of the Year prize as less than 50% of us managed to finish it.  That says something when the book is only 175 pages – sure they are serving soup for 100 of those pages, but still.

Mrs. Woolf did have an amazing gift for describing the details of regular life.  In Mrs. Dalloway, which we read in 2000,  a good portion of the story is devoted to preparing for a party, so it should be no surprise that dinner and an eventual journey to the lighthouse would be the plot of an entire book.   In our connected world, we certainly don’t spend this much time analyzing the details of daily life. 

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