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The Hours: A Novel Paperback – January 15, 2000
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There's just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we've ever imagined.... Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.As Cunningham moves between the three women, his transitions are seamless. One early chapter ends with Woolf picking up her pen and composing her first sentence, "Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself." The next begins with Laura rejoicing over that line and the fictional universe she is about to enter. Clarissa's day, on the other hand, is a mirror of Mrs. Dalloway's--with, however, an appropriate degree of modern beveling as Cunningham updates and elaborates his source of inspiration. Clarissa knows that her desire to give her friend the perfect party may seem trivial to many. Yet it seems better to her than shutting down in the face of disaster and despair. Like its literary inspiration, The Hours is a hymn to consciousness and the beauties and losses it perceives. It is also a reminder that, as Cunningham again and again makes us realize, art belongs to far more than just "the world of objects." --Kerry Fried --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
"The Hours" tells the story of a bright June day in the lives of three different women living in three different times and places. The first story is that of Virginia Woolf during a day in 1923, when she is writing "Mrs. Dalloway". The second is the story of Laura Brown, a thirtyish, bookish married woman living in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Laura has a four-year-old son and is pregnant with another child as she plans a birthday dinner for her husband on a day in 1949. The third story is that of Clarissa Vaughn, a fifty-two year old, slightly bohemian, literary agent who is planning a party for Richard, her long-time friend and one-time lover, a prominent writer dying of AIDS.
"The Hours" is, among other things, a nuanced and sensitive picture of middle age in the lives of its characters. Like the novel to which it pays tribute, "The Hours" relies heavily on interior monologue-on thoughts, memories and perceptions-to drive the narrative and to establish a powerful bond between the reader and each of the female protagonists. The reader feels the psychic pain of the aging Virginia Woolf as she contemplates suicide in the Prologue.Read more ›
My advice would be to read the novel before viewing the film. I plan to see the movie but I fear it will go against everything that Woolf and Cunningham are aiming at, I hope I'm surprised by the movie, but regardless this book is worth your Hours.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautifully written and the author tackles difficult subjects unashamedly and graciously.Published 2 months ago by ladyscholarheidiva
I saw the movie and loved it. The book was awful...I did not finish it. This is one of those rare cases where the movie is better than the book... Read morePublished 2 months ago by callie
It's been so long ago and it was great. Virginia Woolf is one of my favorite authors.Published 2 months ago by Wendy Steel
Tought read at the begininng but it started coming together. Loved it.Published 2 months ago by bobby morse
A well crafted story of yearnings and disappointments, of hopes misplaced and chances lost.Published 2 months ago by Maggie
While Michael Cunningham’s The Hours stands alone as a novel, it works best when read in tandem with Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Anne Brandt
This is a fine novel. Quite possibly the best book I've ever read.The film is just as impressive with a score by Phillip Glass that perfectly mirrors Cunningham's elegant voice.Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
Superb, understated prose. Very simple yet poignant. Highly recommended. Probably best read with a prior, not-so-long-ago-reading of Mrs. Dalloway.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer