The Hours by Michael Cunningham

77%

19 Critic Reviews

I do not recommend this book to those who like to read stories where things blow up, people are murdered, cars chase each other down a crowded highway, or Russian spies bomb the American embassy. But I recommend this book to people who love the human condition – those who love the soul.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel becomes a motion picture starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman, directed by Stephen Daldry from a screenplay by David Hare

The Hours tells the story of three women: Virginia Woolf, beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway as she recuperates in a London suburb with her husband in 1923; Clarissa Vaughan, beloved friend of an acclaimed poet dying from AIDS, who in modern-day New York is planning a party in his honor; and Laura Brown, in a 1949 Los Angeles suburb, who slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family and home. By the end of the novel, these three stories intertwine in remarkable ways, and finally come together in an act of subtle and haunting grace.

The Hours is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

 

About Michael Cunningham

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Michael Cunningham is the author of five novels, including By Nightfall, A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize), and Specimen Days. He lives in New York.
 
Published July 31, 1998 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 239 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Hours
All: 19 | Positive: 17 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Good
on May 20 2010

Much in fact does happen; much is lost, hoped for, feared, sometimes recovered (“It will serve as this afternoon’s manifestation of the central mystery itself”), all in gorgeous, Woolfian, shimmering, perfectly-observed prose.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Dec 23 2015

...this is the gargantuan accomplishment of this small book, it makes a reader believe in the possibility and depth of a communality based on great literature, literature that has shown people how to live and what to ask of life.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Chris Evans on Aug 02 2005

I do not recommend this book to those who like to read stories where things blow up, people are murdered, cars chase each other down a crowded highway, or Russian spies bomb the American embassy. But I recommend this book to people who love the human condition – those who love the soul.

Read Full Review of The Hours | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Murphy on Sep 25 2002

He must be very empathetic, or have some excellent female friends to share with him. It’s still a little studied, not the organic expression that Woolfe could convey. The Hours is well worth reading. It is leisurely and lovely, and it made me notice my own moments a little more.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Murphy on Sep 25 2002

The Hours is well worth reading. It is leisurely and lovely, and it made me notice my own moments a little more.

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on Jan 22 2011

What is indisputable, however, is that Cunningham has a fine eye for detail and an understated style which will resonate with the reader. Whatever your feelings about the subject matter, THE HOURS is ultimately a book to be shared and reread.

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Pajiba

Excellent
Reviewed by shellbelle on Jul 25 2012

...The Hours was incredible. It was filled with lines that delivered truths so clear and eloquent that I felt certainly everyone has always known this, but could not find the words to say it before Mr. Cunningham put pen to paper.

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PopMatters

Above average
Reviewed by NITHYA KRISHNASWAMY on Jan 08 2002

With this book, Cunningham reaffirms Woolf’s enduring significance. Her questions about life remain pertinent and even urgent for us today. The Hours is about the richness of time, creativity, and about trying to live true to oneself, if only for an hour.

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CNN.com

Good
Reviewed by Georgia Jones-Davis on Nov 10 1998

Pulling off this clever literary accomplishment shows us that the talented Michael Cunningham isn't at all afraid of Virginia Woolf.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Liz N. on Mar 25 2014

Cunningham takes the lives of these three women and twists them together in many unexpected ways. He has created an extraordinary book with many surprising aspects.

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Curled Up

Above average
Reviewed by April Galt on Nov 25 2015

And while he does recreate apparent everyday life for the three women and shows how society as a whole has become more accepting, The Hours is still a very depressing book. Beautifully written, it reminds us some still believe suicide is their only choice.

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Brothers Judd

Below average
on Sep 09 2000

...an extended riff on Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, which is unreadable, while The Hours is merely unenjoyable...several reviewers referred to the surprising ways in which Cunningham ties the three plots together at the end of the book, but they can be surprising only to someone who is not paying attention.

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Things Mean a Lot

Excellent
Reviewed by Ana S. on Jul 13 2010

The Hours is a novel that acknowledges the frailty and the tragedy of our existences, but also its preciousness, windows and sleeping pills and rivers and all. And I can’t say how much I love it for that.

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Jules' Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Jules on Oct 27 2010

I think the author did a great job at showcasing that these problem women faced which have continued on through the decades, and that even those women who have the “perfect” life, feel trapped, scared and alone... I would recommend the book, but I think I’d only recommend to a select audience.

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Vulpus Libris

Good
Reviewed by Sam Ruddock on Jun 02 2009

It is impossible to say which I prefer: the elegant and rewarding Mrs Dalloway which can be peered at in awe through a microscope for hours on end, or The Hours, masterly crafted and perfectly paced. It all comes down to personal preference and I cannot recommend them each highly enough.

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Publisher's Weekly

Good
on Nov 25 2015

A daring, deeply affecting third novel...Passionate, profound, and deeply moving, this is Cunningham's most remarkable achievement to date.

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A Book a Day Till I Can Stay Blog

Below average
on Nov 25 2015

This tiresome book is Twilight for New York literary salons, little more than turgid and pretentious fanfiction.

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Fly High

Good
Reviewed by Maria Grazia on Jun 17 2010

This novel is Cunningham’s homage to Woolf’s great talent and what I most admired in his style was the capacity to tell the three stories into one recalling Woolf’s indirect interior monologue, very often recalling/quoting her Mrs Dalloway.

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http://www.januarymagazine.com

Good
Reviewed by Margaret Gunning on Mar 25 2014

Even his smallest phrases stab with poignant beauty...In its study of poses and subterfuge, truth is revealed in all its maddeningly complex glory.

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Reader Rating for The Hours
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 752 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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