Get a free audiobook

To the Lighthouse

Written by: Virginia Woolf
Narrated by: Nicole Kidman
Length: 6 hrs and 37 mins
4 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

To the Lighthouse is Virginia Woolf’s arresting analysis of domestic family life, centering on the Ramseys and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the early 1900s. Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge, Eyes Wide Shut), who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Woolf in the film adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours, brings the impressionistic prose of this classic to vibrant life.

Split into three parts, the story observes Mrs. Ramsay, Mr. Ramsey, and their children at their vacation house on the Isle of Skye. While the novel follows seemingly trivial events between the family members, the plot takes a backseat to philosophical introspection, which gave the novel its fame as an icon of modernist literature. The Ramseys’ quest to recapture meaning creates a powerful allegory of man’s impermanent battle with the tangible world.

©1927 Virginia Woolf (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A literary exercise

I've never read Woolf before and I'm now pretty amped to pick up more. The story was minimalistic but it's rarely just the story that makes a novel. The abundant philosophical reflections on life, death, love, art, family, etc. fill this novel to the brim. I'm eager to experience that again. As an aside, I wonder if professional voice actors are dismayed at Hollywood actors taking the opportunity to saturate another field with their presence. Nicole Kidman did a swell job for most of the reading but you could definitely hear the impact of her surgically altered wonk face on some of her words, like a lingering lip stuck on a tooth at an ill timed moment, or an inability of a paralyzed muscle to respond fast enough for the requisite linguistic gymnastics of a Woolf sentence.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

"Veiled by memory, tinged by dreams."

Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse is both a masterpiece and a mess of its own making. It breaks conventions and jumps deep into the psyche of the "modern" (early 1900s) family and their house guests. This analysis is what makes the book so incredible and so incredibly confusing. Part of me wonders if this would be a better read in physical format instead of audiobook format due to the fact that it switches perspectives but never seems to gaze upon the characters externally. I often found myself lost as to who was thinking what and when the perspective had shifted.

But, as always, Woolf is a master of prose and is worth reading for that reason alone.

Nicole Kidman makes for an immersive narrator, and has a very smooth voice that's easy to listen to. But unfortunately most of the characters were read in the same voice, making the narrative occasionally hard to follow.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ESK
  • 2012-11-12

Stream of consciousness interpreted differently

I tried to be impartial. But maybe that wasn't exactly what I expected. Still I gave it five stars. I've read the book several times and certainly I had my own vision of the Ramsays, and this ran counter to N.Kidman's rendition. It was just different, all the more interesting.
Since the book is not about action, but introspection, the narrator can discover and impart other subtle nuances of meaning that could be lost on or interpreted differently by the reader.
N.Kidman managed to make the narration sound rhythmic and melodious. Definitely her breathiness was sexy. Her pitch range was rather restrained with no paroxysms of emotion. The whole thing was moody and melancholy at times, just the way it should be.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 2012-11-02

A Novel That Helped Me Better Understand Myself

The Narrator:

Nicole Kidman's intonation and reading style is superb, so much of this novel takes place in the female mind/voice and Nicole just nails it. She brings what can be a tricky style to read to life. It seemed to me, that she truly understood the novel and it showed in her reading.

I do have to warn you, she does have a nasty habit of taking sharp intakes of breath in between lines, and I feel this must have produced an editing dilemma. As someone who regularly edits audio, I'm guessing that Nicole must have read at too fast a pace to smoothly edit out these sounds (although you could lower the sound levels and raise them appropriately). It can be quite annoying at first, but you soon get used to it. Ideally these kind of noises should be removed.

Still I can't fault Nicole for inhaling.

The Novel:

It won't be for everyone. It's about thought, perception, transience, meaning, understanding, gender and all kinds of abstract ideas. If you want a straight narrative with clearly defined actions and goals this will be tricky, but I loved it.

The characters and their search for meaning and their approach to understanding really reflected some of the half understood/explored thoughts that I myself have struggled with. Lily Briscoe is possibly my favourite character in any novel, and occasionally Woolf's prose is just stunning.

As I say, To The Lighthouse is written in a style that is destined to alienate some, and enliven others. I found it incredibly rewarding, but it might leave you cold, be warned.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • DFK
  • 2018-04-27

Great Literature? No story!

I know this is considered great literature. I could appreciate a lovely use of language, but nothing more. There was no story or plot to speak of, nothing to make me want to keep listening (other than my desire to be aware of what this book is for when people refer to it). I was aware that there is no plot, from what I’ve read about this book, but I wanted to see for myself why this is considered a great book. I didn’t see the emperor’s clothes. The performance was adequate, but I don’t think she had much to work with. I know that Kidman is an award-winning actress, but she didn’t shine here.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Madeleine
  • 2014-07-19

Hard to find fault with this reading

You need to have some patience to listen to this novella. The language is exquisite, the sense of place and time and mood are engrossing. If you listen to audiobooks for plot and excitement, this is not the book for you.

But as a novel that explores character, relationships, the extreme subjectivity of human perception and how time acts upon those things, then this may be one of the most eloquent examinations of those things ever written.

Although I did not give Kidman's narration a full five stars, there is nothing wrong with it. However, two things bothered me. Her pace of reading is quite fast, and this is a problem when the point of view changes from one character to another within a scene. I'm assuming there are scene breaks in the original text version which make clear whose point of view is being used, but in audio form, a slightly slower read, with more pauses between scenes would have been helpful. Secondly, I found her Aussie accent slightly jarring for this particular novel. I think it might have suited a more neutral English or American accent better - just because I have a better capacity for overlooking those accents. It's an entirely culturally subjective view, but then narrators affect us at that level.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Clément
  • 2012-06-26

Superbe !

Un grand fan à la fois de Virginia Woolf et de Nicole Kidman, j'étais
impatient de découvrir cette version... Et je n'ai pas été déçu !
La voix sensuelle et mystérieuse de Kidman se prête merveilleusement à
l'univers de Virginia... Le voyage des protagonistes, aussi bien
intérieur que sur cette île en Ecosse est finement retranscris.
A noter que l'actrice de "Moulin Rouge" a auparavant interprété l'auteur dans "The Hours" de Stephen Daldry en 2002.
Je le recommande vivement.
-----------------------------------------------------
Un huge fan both of Nicole Kidman and Virginia Woolf, I couldn't wait
for this version. And I have not been disappointed !
The sensuel and mysterious voice of Kidman is the best to show Woolf's
fantasy world.
Kidman has interpreted Woolf in "The Hours", directed by Stephen Daldry
in 2002.
I really recommand it.