To the Lighthouse is Virginia Woolf's most accomplished novel, and her most autobiographical. It tells of one summer spent by the Ramsay family and their friends in their holiday home in Scotland. Offshore stands the lighthouse, remote, inaccessbile, an eternal presence in a changing wolrd. A projected visit to the lighthouse forms the heart of this extraordinary novel which, through the minds of the various characters, explores the nature of time, memory, transience and eternity. The style has the clarity of a diamond which shimmers in the mind, making To the Lighthouse one of the most unforgettable novels of the 20th century.
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This classic character study takes on new life with Juliet Stevenson's masterful narration. She lends cohesion to the stream-of-consciousness passages, making them easier to follow. As Mrs. Ramsay and Lily Briscoe explore life's questions, Stevenson applies vocal traits to each character, reflecting personality and values. Both women speak in clear, kind tones, while gruffness captures Mr. Ramsay's essence and sarcasm dominates Mr. Tansley's. Light, airy notes accompany the children's words. Stevenson exhibits her critically acclaimed qualities - her lovely voice, perfect enunciation, earnestness and musical phrasing. She not only understands, but communicates with precision the overt and subtextual meaning of Woolf's prose.
"British actress Juliet Stevenson makes for a better reader of Woolf's words than Nicole Kidman's Oscar-winning turn as Woolf in
The Hours...Her reading is quietly, carefully precise, and that precision is a solid complement to Woolf's own measured, inward-looking prose." (
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To the Lighthouse