Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Hours

"The Hours" is a wonderful Pulitzer Prize winning novella written by Michael Cunningham. How queer it is that I've read so many books this year that were made in to movies that I never saw. Now I'm growing quite a list of movies that I need to see. From the book's cover:

"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 1950's 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 Michale Cunningham's deep empathy for his characters as well as the extraordinary resonance of his prose."

It is remarkable how three generations of women are all affected by "Mrs. Dalloway" by Virginia Woolf. The story moves along interesting enough but really grabs hold of the reader at the very end where the connection is made clear. Cunningham's style is rolling in a stream-of-consciousness narrative, and I wonder if this was a deliberate attempt to emulate Virginia Woolf, as I have never read any of his other works.

As I mentioned earlier, I have quite a must see movie list building, but a movie can rarely, if ever replace a novel, book, or story. A movie is much more expendable. A truly inspired book can linger on one's mind for weeks, months, or even years. This is that kind of story, for me. Highly recommended.

"We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep - it's as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out of windows or drown themselves or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us, the vast majority, are slowly devoured by some disease or, if we're very fortunate, by time itself. There's just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we've ever imagined, everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more."

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