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The Hoursby Michael Cunningham
Synopses & Reviews
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel becomes a motion picture starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman, directed by Stephen Daldry from a screenplay by David Hare
The Hours tells the story of three women: Virginia Woolf, beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway as she recuperates in a London suburb with her husband in 1923; Clarissa Vaughan, beloved friend of an acclaimed poet dying from AIDS, who in modern-day New York is planning a party in his honor; and Laura Brown, in a 1949 Los Angeles suburb, who slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family and home. By the end of the novel, these three stories intertwine in remarkable ways, and finally come together in an act of subtle and haunting grace.
The Hours is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
"Steeped in the work and life of Virginia Woolf, Cunningham offers up a sequel to the work of the great author, complete with her own pathos and brilliance....[G]orgeous, Woolfian, shimmering, perfectly-observed prose. Hardly a false note in an extraordinary carrying on of a true greatness that doubted itself." Kirkus Reviews
"Inspired....Michael Cunningham dazzles." Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair
"At first blush, the structural and thematic conceits of this novel...seem like the stuff of a graduate student's pipe dream....[But] the reader becomes completely entranced....[T]he gargantuan accomplishment of this small book [is that] it makes a reader believe in the possibility and depth of a communality based on great literature, literature that has shown people how to live and what to ask of life." Publishers Weekly
"A delicate, triumphant glance....A place of late-century danger but also of treasurable hours." Michael Wood, The New York Times Book Review
"Michael Cunningham's novel The Hours is that rare combination: a smashing literary tour de force and an utterly invigorating reading experience. If this book does not make you jump up from the sofa, looking at life and literature in new ways, check to see if you have a pulse." Ann Prichard, USA Today
"The Hours is a feat of literary acrobatics, yet in the end does not affect us as profoundly as Mrs. Dalloway. The Hours is a variation on a theme, and it's the original melody rather than the contemporary arrangement that's most memorable....Cunningham's writing has a luminous quality....Pulling off this clever literary accomplishment shows us that the talented Michael Cunningham isn't at all afraid of Virginia Woolf." Georgia Jones-Davis, Salon.com
"[A] glittering work of exquisite detail and refined vision..." Book Magazine
"[Cunningham] has fashioned a fictional instrument of intricacy and remarkable beauty. It is a kaleidoscope whose four shining and utterly unlike pieces — the lives of two fictional characters, of a real writer, and her novel — combine, separate and tumble in continually shifting and startlingly suggestive patterns." Richard Eder, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review
"[Cunningham] has deftly created something original, a trio of richly interwoven tales that alternate with one another chapter by chapter, each of them entering the thoughts of a character as she moves through the small details of a day....Cunningham's emulation of such a revered writer as Woolf is courageous, and this is his most mature and masterful work." Jameson Currier, The Washington Post Book World
"With an intimacy only another writer could muster, Cunningham portrayed the act of creation as a heroic and dangerous adventure...a contemporary masterpiece." Newsday
The author of "Flesh and Blood" 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. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman.
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 Richard, 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.
About the Author
Michael Cunningham is "one of our very best writers" (Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times). FSG published his novels A Home at the End of the World (1990) and Flesh and Blood (1995). He was raised in Los Angeles and now lives in Manhattan.
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