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The hours by Michael Cunningham

The hours (edition 1998)

by Michael Cunningham

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9,411154312 (3.93)427
Title:The hours
Authors:Michael Cunningham
Info:New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1998.
Collections:Your library
Tags:Engelstalige literatuur, Virginia Woolf

Work details

The Hours by Michael Cunningham

  1. 111
    Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (twomoredays, TammyWright)
    twomoredays: If you don't read Mrs. Dalloway before The Hours, I suspect it wouldn't be nearly as fulfilling a reading experience.
    TammyWright: It gives you a much fuller appreciation of what Cunningham accomplished with his wonderful novel, "The Hours."
  2. 21
    Five Bells by Gail Jones (fountainoverflows)
  3. 10
    Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: And Other Poems by T. S. Eliot (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Cunningham is constantly referencing Prufrock. If you haven't read it, you should
  4. 11
    John Cheever: Collected Stories and Other Writings (Library of America, No. 188) by John Cheever (Cecilturtle)
  5. 01
    Ohio Angels by Harriet Scott Chessman (Miels)

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» See also 427 mentions

English (144)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (153)
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
There is a unique sensation of both immense loss and joy when you read the final page of a book that you immediately recognise as one of your life's favourites.

Having seen the film first (and loved it), I feared that it would spoil my enjoyment of the book, knowing exactly what was going to happen. At first I had a sense of rushing the book for that reason, but then the story hooked me all over again, and I was rushing simply from an urgency to devour more and more of it's clever deliciousness.

To intertwine a modern retelling of a classic story with parallel stories of Virginia Woolf's demons when writing Mrs. Dalloway, and the fragile state of mind of someone reading Mrs. Dalloway is sheer brilliance - complex yet so simple.

I have not yet read Mrs. Dalloway, but feel I will have to, just to gain another perspective of the immense depth of this novel. Certainly, in reading the novel things became clear to me that I did not pick up on when I watched the film, and I'm sure that having an understanding of Mrs. Dalloway would enhance the book still further. ( )
  AlisonY | Jan 19, 2015 |
As I said elsewhere in my review of André Dubus’s The House of Sand and Fog, I much prefer to read the book before I see the film, only because it becomes virtually impossible to divorce myself from the actors’ portrayal of the characters in the book from what I imagine those characters to be as I read the book. As I also said in that same review, however, seeing the film first didn’t necessarily detract from the book version of the story. Such is also the case with Michael Cunningham’s The Hours.

When I first came out of the movie theater, I was depressed. “Because of the subject matter of the movie?” you may well ask. No, not in the least. Rather, because I felt I could never write anything that good (and I assumed, given the integrity of the film, that the Director had stayed close to Cunningham’s original storyline.

When I next read the book, I closed it at the end and was equally depressed. “Why” again? Because reading the book only confirmed my earlier sense of resignation.

The Hours is a flawless performance in celluloid and an equally flawless performance in prose. Could Michael Cunningham rest on his laurels with this book? I think he could. I hope for all of us, however, that he won’t.

Brooklyn, NY, USA
( )
  RussellBittner | Dec 12, 2014 |
This is one of my favorite novels of all time, if not my absolute favorite. I think this is the third time I've read it, and it won't be the last.

The novel is an ode to the unsung middle-aged woman, who he portrays with such sympathy and respect. It reads like a symphony, with each storyline a different instrument weaving in and out of each other. It's a novel for literary types, rich with subtext and beautiful language. ( )
  dulcinea14 | Sep 18, 2014 |
If you love dark gloomy books about depressed people and their struggles to get through a single day, you'll love this book. I didn't. ( )
  aulsmith | Jul 16, 2014 |
Omg. This is definitely the type of book I have been looking for for awhile. It's one that makes me think. It's worth reading, but only really if you've read Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf first.

I may suck at writing reviews. But this is a "To Read" if you haven't already. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cunningham, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alopaeus, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goddijn, ServaasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hodge, PatriciaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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We'll hunt for a third tiger now, but like the others this one too will be a form of what I dream, a structure of words, and not the flesh and bone tiger that beyond all myths paces the earth. I know these things quite well, yet nonetheless some force keeps driving me in the vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest, and I go on pursuing through the hours another tiger, the beast not found in verse.
- J.L. Borges, The Other Tiger, 1960
I have no time to describe my plans. I should say a good deal about The Hours, and my discovery; how I dig out beautiful caves behind my characters; I think that gives exactly what I want; humanity, humour, depth. The idea is that the caves shall connect, and each comes to daylight at the present moment.
- Virginia Wolf, in her diary, August 30, 1923
This book is for Ken Corbett
First words
Sie hastet aus dem Haus, wirft einen für die Witterung zu schweren Mantel über: 1941.
She hurries from the house, wearing a coat too heavy for the weather. It is 1941.
"We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep–it's as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out of windows or drown themselves or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us, the vast majority, are slowly devoured by some disease or, if we're very fortunate, by time itself. 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, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.
Heaven only knows why we love it so."
What a thrill, what a shock, to be alive on a morning in June, prosperous, almost scandalously privileged, with a simple errand to run.
It had seemed like the beginning of happiness, and Clarissa is still sometimes shocked, more than thirty years later, to realize that it was happiness; that the entire experience lay in a kiss and a walk, the anticipation of dinner and a book...What lives undimmed in Clarissa's mind more than three decades later is a kiss at dusk on a patch of dead grass, and a walk around a pond as mosquitoes droned in the darkening air. There is still that singular perfection, and it's perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other.
Clarissa dislikes arrangements. She prefers flowers to look as if they've just arrived, in armloads, from the fields.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
The book concerns three generations of women affected by a Virginia Woolf novel. The first is Woolf herself writing Mrs. Dalloway in 1923 and struggling with her own mental illness. The second is Mrs. Brown, wife of a World War II veteran, who is reading Mrs. Dalloway in 1949 as she plans her husband's birthday party. The third is Clarissa Vaughan, a lesbian, who plans a party in 1998 to celebrate a major literary award received by her good friend and former lover, the poet Richard, who is dying of AIDS. The situations of all three characters mirror situations experienced by Woolf's Clarissa Dalloway in 'Mrs. Dalloway', with Clarissa Vaughn being a very literal modern-day version of Woolf's character.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312305060, Paperback)

The Hours is both an homage to Virginia Woolf and very much its own creature. Even as Michael Cunningham brings his literary idol back to life, he intertwines her story with those of two more contemporary women. One gray suburban London morning in 1923, Woolf awakens from a dream that will soon lead to Mrs. Dalloway. In the present, on a beautiful June day in Greenwich Village, 52-year-old Clarissa Vaughan is planning a party for her oldest love, a poet dying of AIDS. And in Los Angeles in 1949, Laura Brown, pregnant and unsettled, does her best to prepare for her husband's birthday, but can't seem to stop reading Woolf. These women's lives are linked both by the 1925 novel and by the few precious moments of possibility each keeps returning to. Clarissa is to eventually realize:
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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:30 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In a novel of love, family inheritance, and desperation, the author offers a fictional account of Virginia Woolf's last days and her friendship with a poet living in his mother's shadow.

(summary from another edition)

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