Sunday, June 28, 2015

Book Review - "The Hours" by Michael Cunningham

Our lives are made up of years, of days, of hours. What happens around us on one particular day can make us take a blind, or even desperate, leap forward, or it can force us to look at life with patient gratitude. Each one of us would make different choices, according to our own personal system of values and beliefs, our sense of reasoning, our temperament and most importantly, our state of mind at the final hours of that particular day.

With lyrical prose, the author knits and weaves the events of one particular day in the lives of three women living in separate spaces and times. One of them is Virginia Woolf, who is recovering from her mental illness in a London suburb in 1923, while the other two are fictional variants of the leading character of her novel Mrs. Dalloway, one a modern-day bisexual (Clarissa Vaughan) living in New York in the late 90s and the other a bored suburban housewife (Laura Brown) living in post-WWII Los Angeles. The decision each of them makes at the end of their particular day has repercussions in their individual life.

I found this passage deeply touching:

“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, though 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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