Synopsis… It is very hard to summary this short novel because, being the follower of Proust and Joice, Virginia Woolf paid more attention to the thoughts of here characters and way less to their actions.
The main character is the lady in her 50s Mrs Ramsay – wife of the scientist and tyrant, mother of 8 children who saw children as the only source of her happiness, suffering when they were becoming older, and “philosopher”. I put this word in inverted commas because all here philosophy and all her long thoughts were related only to her family, her husband, her children and possibilities to arrange somebody’s marriage. All the first part of the novel (which is just one day) is a thick mixture of thoughts with little drops of events. Mrs Ramsay and children want to go to the lighthouse next day but Mr Ramsay says that the weather is bad and possible journey is not even a subject of discussion.
Another character who shares thoughts is young Lily Briscoe who is pretending to be a painter and novelist totally discouraged by the Ramsay’s family friend Charles Tansley, who says that women cannot neither paint nor write.
Second part, the shortest, is full of death. Ten years passed since that unsuccessful attempt to visit lighthouse, Mrs Ramsay died, two of children also died (daughter Prue and son Andrew), Mr Ramsay stays alone with six children.
The third part is the final. Mr Ramsay with the horrible delay in 10 years decides to take children to the lighthouse. Children don’t want but they go. The whole part has few “drops” of events in the stream of Lily’s thoughts – senseless violence of sailor’s son on the boat, silent protest of children…
I cannot give proper mark for this novel. It was hard to read but it has interesting thoughts and observation about family life. It is curious book but being the person who supports Charles Tansley that women cannot write, I believe that putting woman in the very middle of narration and give her charisma (which she totally didn’t have) is not what is interesting to read about. She seems narrow-minded fully centered on her children or family or some other’s personal private life. In this meaning I think that it is the only thing which can take all the woman’s thought – love life. That’s why it is not interesting – life is way more complex thing than just love and relationship. But it is just my personal opinion which shouldn’t be shared (or must not). Lily Briscoe was some kind of hope that other parts of life will be more vividly shown. But now. They were not.
It was rough reading not because of style but because of the topic… As I noticed in 99% of cases women can write only about love, their personal experiences unable to go beyond these boundaries.