To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf has been on my tbr mountain for a couple of years now. I decided to read it for the Books to Movies challenge, a challenge which sadly I have a feeling I'm not going to be able to complete. (RL turned busy and difficult just after I signed up for it in August.) But I did, nevertheless, want to read this particular book as I've long wanted to find out whether I'm a fan of Woolf's writing - or not.
So, am I a fan? To tell the truth - decisive as always - I'm not sure. I started this book and got to about page 70. I struggled all the way with her rambling style, her going off at a tangent about this, that and the other. I don't know why it irritated me, I usually have a lot of patience with that style of writing, maybe I wasn't concentrating hard enough, I don't know. Sometimes she just totally lost me! So, I gave it a rest for about a fortnight. Read a couple of other things and then went back to it. The story, btw, is about the Ramsay family who own a holiday home on Skye. Really it's about the family and their hangers-on, the dynamics of the relationships between them and especially what kind of marriage Mr and Mrs Ramsay have. So, anyway, after a fortnight or so I went back to the book. And somehow it didn't seem as bad. Suddenly I didn't feel like flinging it across the room but was reading it quite happily. Did she stop rambling after seventy pages? Was I in a different mood? I haven't a clue. Nor can I decide whether I actually liked it or not. I couldn't help comparing it to a wonderful Persephone book I read in the summer called Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton. That too was a book about families set around about the same time, if memory serves me correctly. I'm very much afraid the Woolf book came up wanting. Family Roundabout was so much more involving, crisply written, amusing - I was desperate to know what happened to all the members of the family. Sadly, in To the Lighthouse I wasn't really all that bothered. Does this make me a Philistine? The fact that I prefer Richmal Crompton's writing to that of the genius that is Virginia Woolf? I'll have to think on that one. Maybe try one or two more of Woolf's books or essays before I cast judgement on my own judgement (so to speak). The thing is, I really want to like her writing. I feel as though I should like it for some bizarre reason. After all, I saw and enjoyed the movie of Mrs Dalloway and yes, I know a film is a very different kettle of fish to a book, but nevertheless I found the story interesting and liked what it had to say. I honestly don't know what to think (no change there then) and clearly will have to try another of her books in order to form some kind of definite opinion.
Currently reading: Abarat by Clive Barker.