We won’t be able to go to the lighthouse tomorrow it seems.
In this novel, we find ourselves in the Hebrides as a group of people are more or less on vacation. As with many Virginia Woolf novels, our narrative perspective flits around from person to person in a close, omniscient third person as they consider their lives in general, and on this trip specifically. Our main characters are a young painter named Lily Briscoe. We have the Ramsays, a married couple with eight children. We specifically also have James Ramsay, who has been told at some point that he and his parents will visit the local lighthouse. This turns into a kind of totem of his life with his parents, and the resentment from missing this trip slowly simmers and boils to a deep burning resentment that causes him to completely cut his father out of his heart.
Mr Ramsay, in one of my favorite rendering of a character ever, has decided that life in general is the progress from A to Z and that he, at 40, is already at Q, which is pretty good. If he is at Q, it’s especially alarming as we jump in time to still find him there.
It’s important going in that this is not a novel with a significant plot, and almost works for me as the narration of a painting in a way, perhaps one of Lily Briscoe’s? This means the internalization of each of the characters is the plot, and while there’s some connection among the characters, it’s about what is happening inside that matters.