Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Hours

Over this past weekend, I read the Michael Cunningham novel, The Hours. This was an exquisite story, a many faceted jewel that still glows in my mind 24 hours after I turned the last page. Cunningham weaves a cunning tapestry with the threads of three separate days as lived by three individual women separated by decades but not by spirit. Three separate stories interwoven chapter by alternating chapter, centered and strengthened and given their meaning by a fourth thread--that of the novel, Mrs. Dalloway. There is the day in the early twenties on which Virginia Woolf began writing Mrs. Dalloway, and the day in 1949 when a suburban housewife and mother began reading Mrs. Dalloway, and a day near the end of the millennium when a woman named Clarissa plans a party for a beloved friend who many years before had bestowed on her the nickname, Mrs. Dalloway because she had the same first name as the character and, he claimed, the same qualities of mind and spirit. Each woman lives the hours of her day in contemplation of the character of Mrs. Dalloway and of the world which she inhabits and each woman’s day is enlarged, impacted and particularized by this contemplation. It seems at times that the very spirits of the four women are in communion across the decades and across the divide between ‘real’ and fiction. I have encountered few stories that go so directly to the heart of story itself; exemplifying the truth that story is the very heart of life; that story is the very way of life; that the stories we tell to ourselves and those we tell one another co-create the stories we live within the hours of our lives. This novel was well deserving of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize.

1 tell me a story:

Jamie 6/02/2006 2:49 AM  

The movie that went with this book is awesome too. It starred Meryl Streep, she played Clarissa and Nicole Kidman played Virginia Woolf. I recommend that you see it and I'll read the book.

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