NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Friday, September 25, 2009

THE HOURS

by Michael Cunningham



"The Hours is the story of three women: Clarissa Vaughn, who one New York morning goes about planning a party in honor of a beloved friend; Laura Brown, who in a 1950s Los Angeles suburb slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family and home; and Virginia Woolf, recuperating with her husband in a London suburb and beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway. By the end of the novel, the stories have intertwined and finally come together in an act of subtle and haunting grace." (From the CD container.)

I have a sneaky suspicion that I would have appreciated Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway even more if I would have read Michael Cunningham's novel The Hours first. I know that seems backwards. They're not the same story, but the thematic resemblances are such that I think I would have been able to follow Mrs. Dalloway more effectively. Cunningham captures the stream-of-consciousness feel without the leaving you wondering what on earth you just read, making those very themes a little easier to tease out.

I know I was left a little in the dust by this book because I listened to it while battling a particularly wicked case of bronchitis, and high doses of cough/cold medicine occasionally transformed this work into merely beautiful words floating randomly around my subconscious. I did gather enough for The Hours to end with me marveling not only at its solemn dignity, but also that of Mrs. Dalloway.



15 comments:

Paperback Reader said...

I have read Mrs Dalloway a few times and only the first (which I didn't appreciate) was before reading The Hours; it certainly contributed to my appreciation of Woolf and Mrs Dalloway. I thought The Hours was a very clever novel and thought the film adaptation was very well done.

Literary Feline said...

I'll have to keep that in mind when I pick up Mrs. Dalloway, and read The Hours first.

Lezlie said...

Paperback Reader ~ I haven't seen the movie. After reading this, however, I would think it would be really good!

Literary Feline ~ I'll be curious to see if you think it helps to do it in that order or not. Don't you wish sometimes you could go back and read something again for the first time?

Lezlie

Rebecca Reid said...

I don't recall this book doing much for me. But I don't recall Mrs Dalloway doing much either. Maybe I'll revisit both some day.

Eva said...

I saw the movie and then read Mrs. Dalloway. I definitely loved Mrs. Dalloway (although I've loved every Woolf I've ever read!), and I think knowing the movie did give it a little something extra. If only because I pictured Meryl Streep as Mrs. Dalloway, and I love Meryl Streep. ;)

Lezlie said...

Rebecca ~ The Hours captured my attention more than Mrs. Dalloway did, but it made me want to reread Mrs. Dalloway. That reread list is getting ridiculously long!

Eva ~ I'm going to have to see the movies for some of these. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson with Interview With The Vampire. That books made much more sense after the movie simplified it for me. And added some rather striking visuals. ;-)

Lezlie

Charley said...

I enjoyed this book, too, and I thought Cunningham's language was beautiful. I bought Mrs. Dalloway at a book sale shortly after reading The Hours, but I have yet to read it.

Thomas said...

Ditto those who liked the film adaptation as well as the book. I haven't read Dalloway but I thoughroughly enjoyed the movie of that with Vanessa Redgrave as Mrs. Dalloway. And just recently we rented both movies and watched them back to back which was very enjoyable.

Lezlie said...

Charley ~ I will enjoying seeing your thoughts on Mrs. Dalloway when you get to it. It will be interesting to see if you think reading The Hours first made any difference.

Thomas ~ With winter coming on, I'll have to start checking out some of these movies readers are recommending. They all sounds so good!

Lezlie

Joanne said...

Whether to read Hours or Mrs Dalloway first was a major dilemma for me (yes I am that obsessive lol.) I ended up reading, then watching Hours and loved it, and it made me want to read Mrs Dalloway that much more. And hopefully I will get to it sometime this year *fingers crossed* :)

Lezlie said...

Joanne ~ I totally understand the obsession. I'm working out a post in my head all about the issues of "pre-reading" or "reading prep". It's tough to make the decisions regarding reading *about* a classic first or just jumping in cold. I struggle with that all the time!

I can't wait to see your comments on Mrs. Dalloway when you do get to it!

Lezlie

joanna said...

I loved The Hours but couldn't get through Mrs Dalloway - I'm glad I got to enjoy the stream-of-consciousness writing of one of these books at least! Hope your bronchitis is better!!

Lezlie said...

Joanna ~ Which one did you read first? I can't remember. Mrs. Dalloway was a tough read for sure.

And thanks on the bronchitis front. It's breaking up and is almost done, but I'm still having issues with coughing. I have to sing at a wedding ceremony on Saturday, so it needs to stop quickly! :-)

Lezlie

Trish said...

I do know what you mean about reading this one first. Probably a good introduction to a fairly difficult book to read. I enjoyed both and find them to be great companion pieces--Cunningham did a fantastic job.

Lezlie said...

Trish ~ These are books that I think would both benefit from being read back-to-back if the reader has the chance. You're right about Cunningham doing such a great job!

Lezlie