The Hours is a 1998 novel by Michael Cunningham. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was adapted for film in 2002. This is a breath-taking book. I need to read it again, and even then I don't think I'll be ready to leave it. You can read the first chapter online here. I am going to look for the DVD of this film. I want to see it.
from the back of the book:
Passionate, profound, and deeply moving, The Hours is the story of three women: Clarissa Vaughan, who one New Yrk morning goes about planning a party in honor of a beloved friend; Laura Brown, who in a 1950s Los Angeles suburb slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family and home; and Virginia Woolf, recuperating with her husband in a London suburb, and beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway. By the end of the novel, the stories have intertwined, and finally come together in an act of subtle and haunting grace, demonstrating Michael Cunningham's deep empathy for his characters as well as the extra-ordinary resonance of his prose.favorite quotes:
What a thrill, what a shock, to be alive on a morning in June, prosperous, almost scandalously privileged, with a simple errand to run.
Better to die raving mad in London than evaporate in Richmond.
Men may congratulate themselves for writing truly and passionately about the movements of nations; they may consider war and the search for God to be great literature's only subjects; but if men's standing in the world could be toppled by an ill-advised choice of hat, English literature would be dramatically changed.
Venture too far for love, she tells herself, and you renounce citizenship in the country you've made for yourself. You end up just sailing from port to port.
Still, she is glad to know (for somehow, suddenly, she knows) that it is possible to stop livingThere is comfort in facing the full range of options; in considering all your choices, fearlessly and without guile.
The NYT and The Guardian and Publishers Weekly and CNN have positive reviews. The Washington Post has a few quibbles but calls it the author's "most mature and masterful work". Kirkus Reviews concludes, "Hardly a false note in an extraordinary carrying on of a true greatness that doubted itself."