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The Hours: A Novel by Michael Cunningham

The Hours: A Novel (edition 2002)

by Michael Cunningham

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10,449182273 (3.92)487
Title:The Hours: A Novel
Authors:Michael Cunningham
Info:Picador (2002), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Hours by Michael Cunningham

  1. 111
    Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (twomoredays, TammyMarshall)
    twomoredays: If you don't read Mrs. Dalloway before The Hours, I suspect it wouldn't be nearly as fulfilling a reading experience.
    TammyMarshall: It gives you a much fuller appreciation of what Cunningham accomplished with his wonderful novel, "The Hours."
  2. 20
    Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Cunningham is constantly referencing Prufrock. If you haven't read it, you should
  3. 21
    Five Bells by Gail Jones (fountainoverflows)
  4. 00
    Ohio Angels by Harriet Scott Chessman (Miels)
  5. 01
    John Cheever: Collected Stories and Other Writings (Library of America, No. 188) by John Cheever (Cecilturtle)
1990s (72)
1990s (28)

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Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
Surprising to me - I really enjoyed this book. It didn't seem like the type of book that would interest me, but the character insights and development really hit home for me. The book alternates between three separate stories (that are connected in interesting ways) and while there is no great plot development, it is more of a character study of how we view ourselves and how we are almost like characters in a novel. A great deal has been written about this book and the use of Virginia Woolf and her stories, so I won't get into that. Needless to say, I am now very interested in reading Woolf and will look into her books in the near future. ( )
  msaucier818 | Apr 9, 2018 |
I read Mrs. Dalloway back in 2010 as my first exposure to Woolf's literary works, and dare I say that its sheer brilliance managed to overshadow any appreciation I may have had for In the Lighthouse, had that been my first Woolf read. It took a reading challenge for me to finally take down my copy of The Hours and give it a read. Did I have some trepidation that my love for Woolf's original story would make me unduly critical of Cunningham's story? You bet I did. Thankfully, I did not need to worry. If anything, The Hours has made me want to re-read Mrs. Dalloway and savor the original story all over again. Cunningham's connected stories were able to draw a strong level of connection and emotion from me. Is The Hours as good as Mrs. Dalloway? Not to this reader but I believe The Hours was meant to compliment, not compete, with Woolf's wonderful story, and compliment it does, in spades, even down to what one reviewer has noted as certain parts where "Cunningham follows Woolf's cadences too closely". Some readers may view that as a problem. I don't. If anything, Cunningham's efforts to imbue the stories with these direct ties to Mrs. Dalloway enrich the stories with extra meaning, as do some of the little jokes included that readers of the original will appreciate.

Overall, a wonderful cascading of three story-lines (and time periods) that makes for a sublimely delightful read. Not Mrs. Dalloway, but still a darn good read. ( )
  lkernagh | Mar 10, 2018 |
2.5 stars. Neurotic, unsympathetic characters. A Woody Allen take on a Virginia Woolf book. Read Woolf instead. ( )
  Siubhan | Feb 28, 2018 |
Io sono pazzamente innamorata dello stile di Michael Cunningham, che trovo elegante, delicato ed intimista. Amo il suo modo di usare le figure retoriche e gli aggettivi che usa, il suo modo di descrivere i personaggi "dall'interno", sicché ogni azione che compiono è sempre coerente con l'idea che abbiamo di loro. Purtroppo io dentro "Le ore" ci ho trovato solo questo e poco di più: un testo meravigliosamente scritto, un profluvio di parole accostate tra loro in maniera magistrale, e a tratti l'immedesimazione con i personaggi, riconoscendo in loro le stesse inquietudini, gli stessi pensieri amari e le stesse riflessioni sulla vita che a volte faccio anch'io. Non c'è azione, nel romanzo: sembra un album di fotografie, e per questo si pone appena fuori dalla mia comfort zone di lettura. Ho letto di meglio (ma anche di molto peggio). ( )
  lonelypepper | Feb 22, 2018 |
This Pulitzer Prize winning novel tells a "day in the life" story of 3 women at 3 different eras all interconnected by Virgina Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. The first, is Virginia Woolf herself, as she struggles with mental illness and inspiration as she begins writing the book that will become Mrs. Dalloway. The second, is Mrs Brown, in 1949 Los Angeles, as she is reading the book and plans her husband's birthday party. The third is Clarrisa Vaughan (who's nickname is Mrs. Dalloway), as she plans the party for her friend and former lover; Richard, who is dying of AIDS.

I've never read Mrs. Dalloway, but that didn't take away from the poignancy of the book. Excellent writing, worthy of the award. The novel is constructed in a stream of conscience way, where Cunningham jumps back and forth between the 3 woman, linking them between the woman who wrote the book, the woman who is reading the book, and the woman who is living the book. Recommend.
She knew she was going to have trouble believing in herself, in the rooms of her house, and when she glanced over at this new book on her nightstand, stacked atop the one she finished last night, she reached for it automatically, as if reading were the singular and obvious first task of the day, the only viable way to negotiate the transit from sleep to obligation.
First come the headaches, which are not in any way ordinary pain. They infiltrate her. They inhabit rather than merely afflict her the way viruses inhabit their hosts. Strands of pain announce themselves, throw shivers of brightness into her eyes so insistently she must remind herself that others can't see them. Pain colonizes her, quickly replaces what was Virginia with more and more of itself, and its advance is so forceful, its jagged contours so distinct, that she can't help imagining it as an entity with a life of its own.


S: 1/2/17 - 1/11/18 (10 Days) ( )
2 vote mahsdad | Jan 14, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
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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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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.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:26 -0400)

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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.

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