No matter what list, Woolf’s To The Lighthouse appears as one of the 100 Best Novels of the Twentieth Century! Surely many of you have already enjoyed this heralded work but did so at a time in life when it would have been impossible to appreciate the book’s insight into family relationships, love, estrangement, the unspoken word, jealously, empathy and hope.
A summer home gathers an annual collection of family and friends. Generations explore common interests, new love, old hatreds, bad habits, disappointments and the expanse of silence and misunderstanding that can exist within the close proximity of summer rituals.
Allegory and metaphor play an extraordinary role in Woolf’s story. Those that know personally of these gatherings will see in the mirror the silent spaces that exist even in the most intimate relationships. Kind words never spoken, emotions not expressed, anger never stated, forgiveness withheld, passion restrained, while life goes on around the missed opportunities found in a perfectly orchestrated daily schedule and of course the every-present constant of the lighthouse.
To The Lighthouse is about the human spirit and this 1927 novel set on the coast of Scotland could very well be a 21st Century family gathering in Quogue, Blue Hill, Montauk or Kennebunkport. Journey To The Lighthouse with Virginia Woolf. You could not ask for a better companion.