Review of The Hours by Michael Cunnigham
Three stories, seemingly separate, about three different women in three different time periods, all affected in some way by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. In the end, 2 of the stories converge.
The themes in Mrs.Dalloway are presented here as well – themes of confinement, depression, suicide, discontentment, homosexuality. Characters in this book represent and symbolize characters in Mrs. Dalloway. Also, as in Mrs. Dalloway, it is written as stream of consciousness (my absolute favorite style of writing).
It’s a wonderful homage to a brilliant, self-doubting, tormented author, weaving her personal mental health struggles – and her writing – throughout. Even the title of the novel, The Hours, was Woolf’s working title for Mrs. Dalloway, eluding to life being one hour after another, on and on.
It is poetic, beautiful, thought-provoking and skillfully constructed – all the things I look for in a novel. A Pulitzer Prize well-deserved.
(The movie starring Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf, Julianne Moore as Laura Brown, and Meryl Streep as Clarissa, is fantastic as well.)