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The Hours       Paperback : 240 pages
Published by Picador
November 9, 2002
The Hours       Hardcover : 230 pages
Published by Farrar,
Straus & Giroux

November 11, 1998
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The Hours

Paperback : 240 pages
Published by Picador
January 15, 2000

•  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
•  Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award

A daring, deeply affecting third novel by the author of A Home at the End of the World and Flesh and Blood.

In The Hours, Michael Cunningham, widely praised as one of the most gifted writers of his generation, draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair. The narrative of Woolf's last days before her suicide early in World War II counterpoints the fictional stories of Richard, a famous poet whose life has been shadowed by his talented and troubled mother, and his lifelong friend Clarissa, who strives to forge a balanced and rewarding life in spite of the demands of friends, lovers, and family.

Passionate, profound, and deeply moving, this is Cunningham's most remarkable achievement to date.

The film adaptation of The Hours premiered in December 2003. Directed by Stephen Daldry, with the screenplay by David Hare, starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman, The Hours was nominated for nine Academy Awards® and won for Best Actress in a Leading Role. The film was also nominated for seven Golden Globes and won for Best Motion Picture-Drama and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama.

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Reviews for The Hours:
Michael Wood, The New York Times Book Review:
"The overall impression is that of a delicate, triumphant glance, an acknowledgement of Woolf that takes her into Cunningham's own territory, a place of late-century danger but also of treasurable hours."

Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review:
"An exquisitely written, kaleidoscopic work that anchors a floating postmodern world on pre-modern caissons of love, grief and transcendent longing."

Jameson Currier, The Washington Post Book World:
"[Cunningham] has deftly created something original, a trio of richly interwoven tales that alternate with one another chapter by chapter, each of them entering the thoughts of a character as she moves through the small details of a day . . . Cunningham's emulation of such a revered writer as Woolf is courageous, and this is his most mature and masterful work."

"Cunningham's writing has a luminous quality. Pulling off this clever literary accomplishment shows us that the talented Michael Cunningham isn't at all afraid of Virginia Woolf."

Vanity Fair:
"Inspired. . .Michael Cunningham dazzles."

"What, he essentially asks in The Hours, is it like to grow up and be older, to succeed and fail, to have friends and lovers and children and parents who delight and disappoint, provide joy and sorrow?. . . Aficionados will undoubtedly relish the countless parallels between a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway and a day in the life of Clarissa Vaughan."

USA Today:
“A smashing literary tour de force and an utterly invigorating reading experience. If this book does not make you jump up from the sofa, looking at life and literature in new ways, check to see if you have a pulse.”

Justin Cronin, The Philadelphia Inquirer:
"The triumph of The Hours is that it somehow manages to be both artful and sincere, striking nary a false note . . . And the triumph of the book is no less the triumph of its author. Just when it seemed that it was no longer permissible to pay respect to the literature of the past, Cunningham has done so with an undeniable skill and depth of feeling."

"With an intimacy only another writer could muster, Cunningham portrayed the act of creation as a heroic and dangerous adventure. . .a contemporary masterpiece."

Time Out:
"For those familiar with Woolf's life, The Hours. . .offers a well-researched and credible facsimile of the British writer and her world."

Entertainment Weekly:
"[D]elicate characterization."

The Missouri Review:
"Cunnungham's third novel, winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize, is understated and lyrical, literate and wise."

New Criterion:
"[W]hen a novelist has the right stuff, he can endow literally any subject with truth, poetry, and intelligence. . . . The Hours is a meditation on age and decay, on sanity and insanity, on the nature of the creative act, on the ineradicable love for life that continues even in the face of a longing for death."

Publishers Weekly:
"Rich and beautifully nuanced scenes follow one upon the other . . . [a] gargantuan accomplishment."