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The Hours

By Michael Cunningham

The Hours
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  • Hardcover: Nov 1998,
    230 pages.
    Paperback: Jan 2000,
    230 pages.

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There are currently 38 reader reviews for The Hours
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H_Jade (06/06/11)

Beautiful read
The Hours is one of those books that leaves phrases resounding in your mind long after you have put it down. The poetic prose isn't quite Virginia Woolf's, but Cunningham does a wonderful job of adapting the stream-of-consiousness style and making it his own. Like Woolf, he does with words what great artists do with paint, but has made it a little easier to follow (think Mrs Dalloway as stream-of-consiousness on speed). It maybe be a little harder than other books to understand, but I urge you not to let that faze you!
sneha (12/07/09)

a true criticism
A book written with the only an aim of becoming famous. He is not bothered to tell the readers the story in an easier but understandable way. He has no knowledge of the past,present and future of the characters. An utter mixing of meaningless words in the most ugly way I have ever seen. Please quit the job and let the others who are better than you write books.
veronica walsh don (05/31/09)

Hour and hours
The Hours. Another instance of a man reinterpreting the lives of women from the outside. It is easy to take the work of such a great writer as Virginia Woolf and by extrapolating make a vehicle, in this case a novel, which seems to speak for the female psyche. I would like the author to take a book such as Moby Dick and try the same application. The individual is indefinable, as Virginia Woolf proves. Her perspective should not be exploited to make a best seller.
Valerie (03/29/08)

Still thinking?
I will have to rate this book as average. I wonder if it is a fair review since I have not read Mrs.Dalloway by Virgina Woolf. It was a hard book to get into. I struggled through it some in the beginning, but I believe in finishing a book from beginning to end, no matter what.

I will agree with other reviews in that the depiction of these three women and their struggles with life in general was well portrayed by Mr. Cunningham, but there was still so much not said. I mean this book takes place all within 24 hours time, yet in different time periods. I just think there were things missing that I would have liked to known more about, things left undone almost.

Like I said, it was portrayed well, but I am going to have to read Mrs. Dalloway now to see if it all comes together. Maybe if I know more about Virginia Woolf, less will be unsaid.
quetzalcoatl (09/09/07)

utter fools
This book is one of the most beautifully written books of the 20th century. It is a masterpiece. Those who call it "boring" or whatever denigrating terms they choose to use are, to be blunt and simple, abject fools. Ignore them. Read this book! It is so fine. (Then try to read "Mrs. Dolloway" by Woolf -- it's a beautiful book, but good luck.)
Anonymous (01/13/05)

Awful, awful, awful. Michael Cunningham took three perfectly good stories and ruined them. Let Virginia Woolf write like Virginia Woolf. Not michael Cunningham. This book could have easily been a short story. Not since Charles Dickens was paid by the word has an author put so many letters into such a space to say so little.
Breezier (07/29/04)

I would not have picked up this book if it were not be for an assignment at uni. Although I might have never picked it up I did and I am so glad I did. This book takes us on a journey through a day in the lives of 3 women in different eras all experiencing suicide either themselves or friends and family. These women all experience health issues that were typical in their era and country. Mrs Woolf - was mentally unstable as she continued to write a novel, Mrs Brown - looking after a young child and pregnant with another, wanting perfection she too was mentally unstable (was not happy with where she was in life), and we can't forget Mrs Dalloway - although she herself did not attempt suicide she was still worried about the choices she made in her life and experiences her best friend commit suicide. There are many twists in this novel on how the 3 single woman are linked. I even got so sure that Mrs Dalloway was infact the daughter of Mrs Woolf (not really knowing the life of Virginia Woolf or have read any of her novels). It kept me interested right up until the end to find out the link and how it all ended. The only real lesson I have learnt from this book is that there are many reasons people have tried or have taken their own lives and I think the real reason is because they are not happy with their lives and the company they keep.
Jessica, 16 (07/01/04)

Michael Cunninghams' The Hours is a brilliant, intricate novel. As it follows the lives of 3 women in a single day the ties between their stories and Virginia Woolfs original Mrs Dalloway are subtle and numerous.
In each story there is a character like Clarrissa Dalloway from the original, someone who thrives in society and is slightly artificial. In Mrs Woolfs story this is Vanessa, in Mrs Browns this is Kitty and in Mrs Dalloways this is herself. There is also a character who is a cross between Septimus and Peter Walsh, they are struggling in society and are in love with the Clarrisa like character who can cope with what they cannot. Mrs Woolf struggles in society and feels restricted by her duty as a wife so ends up commiting suicide. Laura Brown is restricted by her duties as a wife and mother, she longs to escape and considers suicide. We learn that she dosn't but leaves her family in Mrs Dalloways story (as the story of Mrs Brown and Mrs Dalloway collide unexpectedly as Septimus' and Clarrisa's do in the original.) Richard also yearns to escape from his illness, he loves Clarissa but cannot keep on living just for her.
Suicide is explored in each of the womens lives, they are not crazy just struggling in society. Notice how it is those who feel restrictions that consider suicide - Mrs Woolf, Mrs Brown and Richard. Mrs Dalloway, the main character who dosnt think about suicide but witnesses Richards, has less restrictions as lives in a time when she can live freely - as a lesbian for example.
I must also stress that Cunningham is not degrading women - the fact Laura is portrayed as a simple housewife by society would have been true of the time she lived. He is showing the restrictions she faces and how damaging they can be. He, like Woolf in the original, is making a moral statement about society - that its presure can do terrible things to people.
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