To the lighthouse

3 Dec

I am not entirely sure why I enjoyed this book.

If you just look at the facts, nothing spectacular happens – in terms of action or long burried secrets at least. The characters are  normal (even if intellectual) people, living normal British lives.

So …? What’s the catch.

The trick Virginia Woolf managed to pull on me (and all those who have enjoyed this book) is called ‘fascination with the human mind.’

The book is truly about what lies beneath. We, as humans, say so little of what truly goes on in our minds and Woolf captures all the inner noise so well, that I felt compelled to read this book to the end. How she does it is beyond my skill to fully understand and explain, but you become a spectator to conflicts, frictions and loves of monumental (dis)proportion.

The entire book actually happens over the course of an afternoon and its evening, followed by an evening and morning ten years later. While little out of the ordinary happens outwardly, inside, entire worlds and philosophies clash. The book is about what the  characters feel, about their inner conflicts, about their greatness and their pettiness facing each other as images in a crooked mirror.

What truly impressed me about the book was the fascinating symbiosis between two antithetical entities: Man – renowned, yet insecure, intelligent and deep thinking, with incredible insights, but at the same time a whimpering child always seeking attention and validation, to the point of begging for it; Woman – discreet, beautiful, mother of eight, of little fame or academic intelligence, yet strong, caring, with a heart and an eye for directing destinies and doing what must be done, in spite of reproach.

There is so much more to be said about this short book, but there is even more thinking to be done. I will let it sink in, with all its beautiful dioramas on the human mind and the unseen ties between people, and invite you to read it before I end.


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