To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (read by Nicole Kidman) Bloomsbury (audiobook) Having unleashed Harry Potter on the world, publisher Bloomsbury is now upping the ante in the audiobook arena. The recipe is simple: take one classic novel. Add celebrity. Record for approximately seven hours. The newest instalment is Nicole Kidman reading To the Lighthouse. A wheeze presumably suggested by her Oscar-winning portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours. Pretending to be Woolf is one thing. Rendering the elliptical rise and fall of her prose is something else. The good news is that Kidman doesn't try the faux posh English accent she used on film. Her Australian tones drawl pleasantly and clearly from the first. But To the Lighthouse is so quintessentially English that Kidman's mellow tones blunt the cut glass of Woolf's prose. A second issue that bothered me was how Woolf's winding sentences challenged the air in Kidman's lungs. The justly famous opening sentence had Kidman panting in my ear like a Labrador on a sweltering hot day in the Outback. It gave the impression she was struggling to keep up. Like so many celebrity-driven projects, Kidman does Woolf is fine. But why not choose someone like Rachel Weisz?