“Lyrical Fiction.” The Glasgow Herald. May 26, 1927, p.4.

Woolf. 7s 6d. (London: Hogarth Press.)

There is an elusive quality in Mrs Woolf’s
work which is so different from anything 
else in literature as to be quite indefinable.
If she must be labelled it should be rather
as a lyrical poet than as a novelist. Her
new novel has no plot, and its free
rambling style, with none of the firmness
and concision of prose, yet has a rhythm
which makes it more akin to poetry, and
particularly to modern poetry. She enters
completely into her characters, one by one,
and traces their thoughts and actions with
free lyrical expression. Noticing the most
trivial detail she invests it with significance.
But it is always the significance which it
assumes in the mind of the character; Mrs
Woolf never for a moment becomes the
detached observer of the world which she
is creating; therefore her people are 
entirely real without even being tangible.
The lyrical quality of her work is the more
pronounced when she is dealing with 
inanimate objects. The short, central part
of the book, in which she indicates the 
passage of time in the empty house where 
her characters have been and will be again,
is sheer poetry, filled with beautiful lyrical 

It is Mrs Ramsay, erect and busy, with her
calm beauty, who permeates the whole 
story. We follow her reactions: to her husband, 
overbearing and helpless, the
philosopher and egotist; to her children; 
and to her guests assembled in a house in
Skye. And they in turn interact and react
to her. The last part of the book, stationary
like the first, looks back across the bridge of
time and stretches out to the spirit of the
first. Mrs Ramsay is dead, but the characters 
(or such as remain) still feel her
pervading influence. There is beauty in the
conception of this influence, through which
the dead still live.

There is one thing in this book which,
though it may seem unimportant, calls for
protest. Remoteness from the world was,
of course, essential to Mrs Woolf’s theme.
But this does not justify her action in
describing a place which is very obviously
Cornwall and calling it Skye. Having
chosen Skye as the scene of her story she
has depicted a country which has an absurd
lack of resemblance to the west coast of 
Scotland. This, however, is a small matter
in a book which confirms the impression 
that Mrs Woolf is not merely the most 
original but the most interesting of
imaginative writers.