The Hours

Michael Cunningham


Why The Hours and Ben Nevis

I chose The Hours as one of the books for England as an homage to Virginia Woolf, one of the most influential British and feminist writers of all times. The Hours draws from the work of Woolf, primarily Mrs. Dalloway. Woolf, herself, is one of the three main women characters in the novel. The Hours is one of my favorite novels. I also recommend reading any of the works by Virginia Woolf, especially her diaries or A Room of One’s Own.

More About The Hours

The Hours is the story of three women searching for more potent, meaningful lives. Each is alive at a different time and place, all are linked by their yearnings and their fears. Their stories intertwine, and finally come together in a surprising, transcendent moment of shared recognition.

In The Hours, Michael Cunningham, 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 Samuel, 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.

The 2002 movie version starts Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman. Kidman won the Oscar for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf.

Adeline Virginia Woolf (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer who is considered one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals. Her best-known works include the novels Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own (1929), with its dictum, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

Woolf suffered from severe bouts of mental illness throughout her life and took her own life by drowning in 1941 at the age of 59.