The Hours

Cunningham, Michael. The Hours. Picador (New York: 1998).

The HoursBrilliant novel that weaves together the lives of three women: Virginia Wolfe, the author; Clarissa, a modern day Mrs. Dalloway (as a gay, 1990’s New Yorker); and Laura, a depressed 1950’s housewife who is reading Mrs. Dalloway. Wolfe’s struggles with mental illness are depicted with haunting insight. Death bookends the novel as Clarissa faces the suicide of Richard, her dear, gifted, terminally ill friend. Yet despite all the depression and death, this book, like Mrs. Dalloway herself, manages to celebrate life. For writers: A tour-de-force demonstration of reimagining. Cunningham has created something new that is moving and profound in its own right, while paying homage to a classic.