Monday, 11 October 2010
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
The Hours follows the day in the life of three women, Virginia Woolf in 1920s London, Laura Brown in 1940s Los Angeles and Clarissa Dalloway in 1990s New York. The day goes through the mundane while themes such as depression, suicide and death feature quite heavily until all three lives converge.
Well I have never read Mrs Dalloway (in fact I’ve never even read Woolf) so I am unable to comment on the similarities between the narrative of the two books.
The author has made the mundane meaningful and the novel is quick and relatively easy to read. The way the women’s day intertwine and mirror each other is very clever as is the way their life's link at the end.
But while I liked this book, I did not love it. The book for some reason did not emotionally stir me in anyway to the point that I was almost left cold, I found the whole thing completely humourless without any kind of joy. Aside from Laura Brown, I failed to really connect with the rest of the characters or their situation as they meandered from one depressing thought to another.
I did see the film a few years ago and I remember finding that a far more emotional experience to the point that I almost cried. Laura Brown in the film also got the opportunity to explain herself better which added impact at the end. Perhaps because I had seen the film first I was let down slightly by the book? I realise that having a film ruin the reading experience of a book is quite rare but the film was wonderfully cast and it filled in a few gaps for me.
Would I recommend this? My feelings towards the book are very much in the minority so I would seek out other reviews rather than take my word for it. However it might have more of an impact and understanding if the novel Mrs Dalloway was read first?
Posted by Jess