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The Hours

Cunningham, Michael

111,373 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0374172897 / ISBN 13: 9780374172893
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux, Gordonsville, Virginia, U.S.A., 1998
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

First Edition, 1998 - stated. First Printing. 1999 winner of the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Awards. An unread copy. Top corners of book gently nudged, but not soft - else Fine. Mylar protected DJ. Bookseller Invt. # N00090373K. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 000373

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Hours

Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux, Gordonsville, Virginia, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition/First Printing.

About this title


A daring, deeply affecting third novel by the author of A Home at the End of the World and Flesh and Blood.

In The Hours, Michael Cunningham, widely praised as one of the most gifted writers of his generation, draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair. The narrative of Woolf's last days before her suicide early in World War II counterpoints the fictional stories of Samuel, a famous poet whose life has been shadowed by his talented and troubled mother, and his lifelong friend Clarissa, who strives to forge a balanced and rewarding life in spite of the demands of friends, lovers, and family.

Passionate, profound, and deeply moving, this is Cunningham's most remarkable achievement to date.  The Hours is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.


The Hours is both an homage to Virginia Woolf and very much its own creature. Even as Michael Cunningham brings his literary idol back to life, he intertwines her story with those of two more contemporary women. One gray suburban London morning in 1923, Woolf awakens from a dream that will soon lead to Mrs. Dalloway. In the present, on a beautiful June day in Greenwich Village, 52-year-old Clarissa Vaughan is planning a party for her oldest love, a poet dying of AIDS. And in Los Angeles in 1949, Laura Brown, pregnant and unsettled, does her best to prepare for her husband's birthday, but can't seem to stop reading Woolf. These women's lives are linked both by the 1925 novel and by the few precious moments of possibility each keeps returning to. Clarissa is to eventually realize:

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.... Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.
As Cunningham moves between the three women, his transitions are seamless. One early chapter ends with Woolf picking up her pen and composing her first sentence, "Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself." The next begins with Laura rejoicing over that line and the fictional universe she is about to enter. Clarissa's day, on the other hand, is a mirror of Mrs. Dalloway's--with, however, an appropriate degree of modern beveling as Cunningham updates and elaborates his source of inspiration. Clarissa knows that her desire to give her friend the perfect party may seem trivial to many. Yet it seems better to her than shutting down in the face of disaster and despair. Like its literary inspiration, The Hours is a hymn to consciousness and the beauties and losses it perceives. It is also a reminder that, as Cunningham again and again makes us realize, art belongs to far more than just "the world of objects." --Kerry Fried

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