All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf

All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf

A wise, lyrical memoir about the power of literature to help us read our own lives--and see clearly the people we love most.

Katharine Smyth was a student at Oxford when she first read Virginia Woolf's modernist masterpiece To the Lighthouse in the comfort of an English sitting room, and in the companionable silence she shared with her father. After his death--a calamity that claimed her favorite person--she returned to that beloved novel as a way of wrestling with his memory and understanding her own grief.
Smyth's story moves between the New England of her childhood and Woolf's Cornish shores and Bloomsbury squares, exploring universal questions about family, loss, and homecoming. Through her inventive, highly personal reading of To the Lighthouse, and her artful adaptation of its groundbreaking structure, Smyth guides us toward a new vision of Woolf's most demanding and rewarding novel--and crafts an elegant reminder of literature's ability to clarify and console.

Braiding memoir, literary criticism, and biography, All the Lives We Ever Lived is a wholly original debut: a love letter from a daughter to her father, and from a reader to her most cherished author.

Title:All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781524760625
Format Type:

About Katharine Smyth

Katharine Smyth is a graduate of Brown University. She has worked for The Paris Review and taught at Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


    All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf Reviews

  • Kerry (lines i underline)

    All the Lives We Ever Lived is an evocative portrait of the deep bond between the author and her dynamic, difficult father. It is an exploration of her overwhelming grief at his death. In her struggle...

  • Jackie

    I won this book as a giveaway. It’s an alright read. It’s a memoir where the author compares her life to Virginia Woolf life as well as her Lighthouse novel. The author clearly shows comparisons a...

  • saranimals

    How does one even go about rating and reviewing the memoirs of another? Something I had never previously had occasion to ask myself. What I will say is that I appreciate the author making To the Light...

  • Donna Hines

    A powerful, emotional, moving memoir by Katharine Smyth.All The Lives We Ever Lived takes place in an English Class where Katharine Smyth first came across To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolfs.After h...

  • miss.mesmerized mesmerized

    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 h...

  • Beverly

    This wasn't the one normal books I read but it was pretty good. I read it in one setting I recommend that anyone should check it out get out of your comfort zone, Some of the book made me think of my...

  • Devin

    All the Lives We Ever Lived is a part memoir and a part record of research about the author’s readings of her favorite book To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Katharine Smyth wrote of growing up a...

  • Karen

    https://wordpress.com/post/booksnooks...Beautiful. This book is a breathtaking tribute to life, love, and literature. Since the age of twenty, Katharine Smyth has been enamored with the book To the Li...

  • Elizabeth

    I had high expectations for this book and that's probably what made me so disappointed. Where I waited for an intelligent memoir on the works of Virginia Woolf and reflections for comfort in reading h...

  • Julia

    This book is about the author’s relationship with her father and her relationship with her favorite book TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf. It is also about grief and the intensity of a parent-chi...