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All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace…
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All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf (2019 original; edició 2019)

de Katharine Smyth (Autor)

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An intimate work of memoir and literary criticism describes how the author found literary solace and insights in Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse" while mourning the death of her beloved father.
Membre:hunyum
Títol:All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf
Autors:Katharine Smyth (Autor)
Informació:Crown (2019), 320 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Etiquetes:to-read

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All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf de Katharine Smyth (2019)

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Having spent the past few months reading Virginia Woolf’s diaries, being intrigued by her, loving “To the Lighthouse” and memoirs, this was the perfect book for me. Using a unique approach of relating her life to the book’s themes and characters, she beautifully captured the way of life for us bibliophiles, in search for books that bring us solace and help answer important questions about life and human nature. (Read the novel first though.) ( )
  joyfulmimi | Sep 9, 2020 |
Katharine Smyth idolized her father. He was her hero and the person with who she had long talks, both growing up and as an adult. She also idealized her parent’s marriage. But her father, and the marriage, had a rather large dark side. He was an alcoholic who was a tyrant to her mother, one who raved and threw things. To make things worse, after his cancer diagnosis, he continued to drink and smoke.

Smyth went on a quest to discover who, really, her father was, back before he met her mother or was her father. She interviews people from his past. And then she pairs her own story of love and loss with that of Virginia Woolf, the author of Smyth’s favorite book “To the Lighthouse”. THL acted as a map for her own grief.

This book is a meditation on not just Smyth’s own loss, but everyone’s losses, “Loss” with a capital L. It provides a clear look at death. It would help, I think, if one has read “To the Lighthouse” (a book about Woolf’s grief over losing her mother when she was a child) prior to reading this book; I had not, and frequently felt I was missing something.

Most of the book is about the author’s father and his death- in great detail. Little is written about her mother until after the father dies. Smyth and her mother had always walked on eggshells, because her father could be a real nasty drunk. One minute he’d be warm and wonderful, the next he was in a rage. I found the author’s idolization of her father rather disturbing. Why not, instead, worship her mother, who put up with so much? But you can’t apply logic to love. It is what it is. This book is a great example of how books can help us understand ourselves, our families, and our emotions. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Jul 28, 2019 |
I got this book from the library, and may very well buy it for my own collection. While occasionally the connections between her own story and that of Virginia Woolf's seems a bit strained, much more often Smyth uses Woolf to elucidate her own life, and in doing so the lives of many others. Her reading of To the Lighthouse provides insights into the novel that certainly had not occurred to me and I am grateful for the greater understanding of Woolf's work she has provided me. ( )
  PatsyMurray | May 17, 2019 |
The death of her father has left Katharine pondering about her life and the people playing major roles in it. Amongst them is not only her family but also Virginia Woolf whose works deeply impressed her when she was a student at Oxford. The parallels between “To the Lighthouse” and her own life are stunning, especially when it comes to the impact that places have on the people. It is her family’s summer house in Rhode Island that first and foremost underlines this impression. Re-reading Virginia Woolf gives her the opportunity to understand her grief as well as her family relationships and to finally cope with her father’s passing.

Katharine Smyth makes it easy for the reader to follow her thoughts. Even though it is some years since I last read “To the Lighthouse”, I could effortlessly find my way back into the novel and see the thread that Smyth also saw. I found it an interesting approach for a memoir or biography and I liked it a lot.

There are two major aspects that I’d like to mention. First of all, Katharine Smyth cleverly shows how literature can help to overcome hard situations and to find solace in reading. It has been a concept since the ancient times, the classic Greek drama with its purgatory function and the possibility of a katharsis which helps you to sort out your feelings and opens the way to go on in life. Second, I also appreciated the author’s frankness. It is certainly not easy to write about the own father’s addiction and his slow deterioration, yet, the process of writing might have helped her, too, and embellishing things would have been counterproductive here.

An interesting memoir which was also beautifully written that made me think about which novel I would pick as a parallel to my own life. ( )
2 vota miss.mesmerized | Jan 27, 2019 |
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An intimate work of memoir and literary criticism describes how the author found literary solace and insights in Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse" while mourning the death of her beloved father.

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