Mr and Mrs Ramsay and their eight children have always holidayed at their summer house in Skye, surrounded by family friends. The novel's opening section teems with the noise, complications, bruised emotions, joys and quiet tragedies of everyday family life that might go on forever. But time passes, bringing with it war and death, and the summer home stands empty until one day, many years later, when the family return to make the long-postponed visit to the lighthouse. One of the great literary achievements of the twentieth century, To the Lighthouse is at once an intensely autobiographical and universally moving masterpiece. Virginia Woolf was born in London in 1882. After her father's death in 1904 Virginia and her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, moved to Bloomsbury and became the centre of ‘The Bloomsbury Group’. This informal collective of artists and writers exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture. In 1912 Virginia married Leonard Woolf, a writer and social reformer. Three years later, her first novel The Voyage Out was published, followed by Night and Day (1919) and Jacob's Room (1922). Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to The Waves (1931). She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography. On 28 March 1941, a few months before the publication of her final novel, Between the Acts, Virginia Woolf committed suicide.