To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
My first foray into Virginia's Woolf's work, and a must read.
To the Lighthouse was one of the more challenging works I've ever read, but, boy, am I grateful to have read it. A stream of consciousness writing style that gives James Joyce a run for his money, To the Lighthouse explores the thoughts of family members and their guests who stay at a seaside home somewhere in England.
The book was earth shattering to me for a few reasons. First, it was the first stream of consciousness novel I read from a female perspective. Granted, the novel was written a time when many women were confined to the gender roles that society expected of them, so I hesitate to draw too strong a parallel between now and then, but some of the portrayals of the male characters were absolutely damning. Whether it is the portrayal of the father as an tyrant who is constantly interrupting the precious time between the toddler James and his mother, or the deeply insecure Charles who subtly denigrates the accomplishments of women, this book undoubtedly made me question how the women in my life look at me. Does my two year old daughter look upon me as a tyrant? Do I need to be more patient and understanding so that she doesn't grow up to resent me?