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The Hours

Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Hours
Print
Baker & Taylor
In a novel of love, family inheritance, and desperation, the author of Flesh and Blood offers a fictional account of Virginia Woolf's last days and her friendship with a poet living in his mother's shadow. 40,000 first printing.

McMillan Palgrave
A daring, deeply affecting third novel by the author of A Home at the End of the World and Flesh and Blood.

In The Hours, Michael Cunningham, widely praised as one of the most gifted writers of his generation, draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair. The narrative of Woolf's last days before her suicide early in World War II counterpoints the fictional stories of Samuel, a famous poet whose life has been shadowed by his talented and troubled mother, and his lifelong friend Clarissa, who strives to forge a balanced and rewarding life in spite of the demands of friends, lovers, and family.

Passionate, profound, and deeply moving, this is Cunningham's most remarkable achievement to date.
The Hours is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.


Blackwell North Amer
In The Hours, Michael Cunningham draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters who are struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair.
The novel opens with an evocation of Woolf's last days before her suicide in 1941, and moves to the stories of two modern American women who are trying to make rewarding lives for themselves in spite of the demands of friends, lovers, and family.
Clarissa Vaughan is a book editor who lives in present-day Greenwich Village; when we meet her, she is buying flowers to display at a party for her friend Richard, an ailing poet who has just won a major literary prize. Laura Brown is a housewife in postwar California who is bringing up her only son and looking for her true life outside of her stifling marriage.
With rare ease and assurance, Cunningham makes the two women's lives converge with Virginia Woolf's in an unexpected and heart-breaking way during the party for Richard.

Baker
& Taylor

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

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, c1998
ISBN: 0374172897
Characteristics: 229 p. ; 22 cm.

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Dec 03, 2014
  • jstalica rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Stunning. Often found myself thinking: "My God, this passage couldn't have been written any more perfectly".

Nov 13, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The author brings with rare ease and assurance a convergence between Virginia Woolf’s writing of Mrs. Dalloway and the lives of two American women. He is empathetic and lyrically watchful in his report on late twentieth century life with all its conflicting emotional claims.

NYPL Staff Pick
Clarissa plans a party for her oldest friend who has just one a prestigious literary prize and is imminently dying of AIDS. Laura, a 1950s housewife, struggles against waves of panic and isolation. Virginia Wolfe works on Mrs. Dalloway and longs for escape -- possibly even only death will do it. This one is extraordinary.
- Lynn Lobash, Readers Service

Jun 22, 2013
  • JCLBeckyC rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Michael Cunningham won the Pulitzer Prize for this masterpiece that weaves together the stories of three generations of women, each during a single day in her life, showing us how extraordinarily interconnected our seemingly ordinary lives are.

Feb 13, 2013
  • dead_bird_by_bird rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the best and most clever books I have ever read.

Nov 11, 2012
  • Cecilturtle rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I'm not a big fan of Woolf, so this book was not to capture my interest; I realized, however, that this is my own failure and not a real mark of the quality of the book. Because it is indeed well written. There is a quiet power that weaves through the pages, deep emotions that lurk beneath the surface but pushed back. Convention, fear and ambiguity are all motivators that are not expressed but stifle the characters.
Despite myself, I was engrossed in Laura's despair and in Clarissa's need for order with Virginia's ghost in the background. The ending was no surprise to me, a neat way to explain the relationships, but an almost needless one because the lives of these women stand alone and are connected through time and emotion - that's the real strength of this book: the love of a rose for beauty, the rush of feeling, the unspoken hurt of love.

Jun 30, 2011
  • hermlou rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

The book begins with the suicide of Virginia Woolf and doesn't get any more cheerful than that. Laura Brown is an unhappy mom who checks into a hotel and considers suicide. The book ends with a poet comitting suicide. Even though the book won a Pulitzer Prize, it seems dark and arty. The language is like a painting, but it describes artists, gays, lesbians, and suicidal thoughts.

Jun 28, 2011
  • Goober1950 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Great book to own

Mar 26, 2011
  • macierules rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

i had previously seen and enjoyed the movie version, but the book proved to be even better. Such pretty prose; strangely uplifting even though the subject matter is so dark.

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