Title: The Hours
Author: Michael Cunningham
Source: Personal library
Summary (From back of book):
Passionate, profound, and deeply moving, The Hours is the story of three women: Clarissa Vaughan, who one New York 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 extraordinary resonance of his prose.
My Two Cents:
I saw the movie based on this book during a college course several years ago, and immediately put the book on my "To-read" list. I adore Virginia Woolf, so this book appealed to me for a lot of reasons.
This is definitely a case in which I would recommend reading the book before seeing the movie (Although I always recommend that). The movie and the book are so similar, there were points where I caught myself skimming because I "knew what happened." Not exactly the way I want to read the book.
Cunningham's prose is just gorgeous. One word flows into the next and, before you know it, you've read 30 pages. I love when books completely sweep me away and make me lose track of time. It's easy to see why he won the Pulitzer Prize for this work.
He also does a fabulous job of accurately rendering three really complex female characters without stooping to stereotypes. And it's especially commendable when you consider he even included one major stereotype: A 1950s housewife unhappy with her place in life. I never felt as if I was reading flat characters. I wanted to get to know these women more deeply, especially Virginia Woolf.