The Hours by Michael Cunningham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What starts out as a very confusing novel gradually turns into one of the most beautiful and most complex books I've ever read. I want to read more from the author.
The novel concerns three women, all of whom are connected in some way. One of these women is actually the author, Virginia Woolf, who is working on her novel, Mrs. Holloway. And while I've never read Mrs. Holloway, you learn through this story all the parallels that course through the other characters (For instance, one character is planning a party for her dying friend and former lover, who has AIDS. This is similar to the plot of Mrs. Holloway, minus the AIDS, of course). Another character is actually reading Mrs. Holloway. The novel takes place in the span of a single day for each of these characters, and the way it ends is both surprising and fulfilling. I genuinely didn't see it coming and felt rewarded for sticking through to the end.
I will admit that the trivial (Like baking a cake and not liking its look) are magnified to an extent that it almost bombastic and overdrawn. But it never feel boring, which is quite an accomplishment. Michael Cunningham is an amazing author who really cares about his characters and gets so in-depth with them that you feel they're real people. He actually won the Pulitzer Prize for this book, and I can see why. It's so rich and layered that a re-read is in order after I actually read Virginia Woolf's book, Mrs. Holloway. This novel is not for everybody (My wife couldn't even get past the first 30 pages), but if you stick with it, you'll be rewarded. I love this book. I can't recommend it enough.
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