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Has anyone read Michael Cunningham's The Hours?

 
 
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 02:19 pm
When I began hearing about the movie, The Hours, I looked forward to seeing it. I have yet to do so although it opened in Boston two weeks ago because I could not afford to go.
I also thought I might like to read the book which inspired the movie (from the reviews, I don't feel able to say based upon) but put that thought aside.
I decided for another reason to check out the book shelf in my living room, which is supposed to be for novels only but which certain people who come into my house feel they can put other books (grrrr!!!!). I was surprised to find a hard backed copy of the novel there...has to be a free book from a job I had a couple of summers ago.
I read it.

Although Cunningham is a terrific prose stylist, I was disappointed in the book.

How do other readers feel?

Despite enjoying his sentences, I felt the book's underlying message was you can only be happy if you are gay.
Please, under stand that I am a liberal and it hurts a bit to come to that conclusion.

Also, a long time ago, I wrote a short story for a creative writing class at a midwestern university, that wowed the departmental chairman. My style at 23 reminded me of his style (the book was published when Cunningham was 46). I long ago thought my story part of my juvenalia.

I also felt some of the emphasis on the worlds of movie making and publishing was a little precious, particularly the scene in which the novel's Clarissa encounters an actress she thinks is Meryl Streep and Streep plays Clarissa in the movie.

Finally, what I really liked about the novel was the idea that we are all disappointed in our selves.
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Tue 21 Jan, 2003 01:12 pm
I read the novel some time ago for a book group I'd joined. Not sure I agree with you about the gay theme, though it definitely is present. But I think the message is more generalized. As I recall, it made me think of how moments of perfect happiness are rare and fleeting, and, if we're lucky, we remember them later on.

I also read "Mrs. Dalloway" at that time to see how the two novels intersect. That was an interesting exercise.

Haven't seen the film yet...
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BillW
 
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Reply Tue 21 Jan, 2003 01:21 pm
No
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sozobe
 
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Reply Tue 21 Jan, 2003 01:25 pm
I haven't seen the film or read the book, but your "inspired by" comment made me think of this really interesting article in the Sunday NYT, written by Michael Cunningham. It makes me want to see the movie even more than I had. (While I haven't read his book, "Mrs. Dalloway" is a long-time favorite, and I've always been curious about "The Hours.")

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/19/movies/19CUNN.html
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msolga
 
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Reply Wed 22 Jan, 2003 06:49 am
Welcome to A2K, plainoldme! Very Happy

Of the 3 Cunningham novels I've read, I found The Hours the least spontaneous & involving. This could just be my taste, of course, but it seemed to be more contrived than, say, A Home At The End of the World.
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patiodog
 
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Reply Wed 22 Jan, 2003 09:55 am
Sitting through that movie did indeed make me think that moments of happiness are few and far between, as are moments of amusement, engagement, and plot.

I mean, I'm glad somebody finally found a way to showcase the music of Philip Glass and all, but come on...
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plainoldme
 
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Reply Thu 23 Jan, 2003 06:11 pm
The Hours
I want to read Mrs. Dalloway. I tried to read To The Lighthouse many years ago but found Virginia impentrable.

Strange, but one of my long time favorite movies, Orlanda, the first movie that I paid to see in first run twice, is also based on a Woolf book.

I found The Hours uncomfortable in its gay outlook although I do like the way he wove in that nobody seems to live up to their expectations of themself.
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plainoldme
 
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Reply Thu 23 Jan, 2003 06:14 pm
The Hours
I wonder if this is a movie that will be better than the book.
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plainoldme
 
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Reply Thu 23 Jan, 2003 06:17 pm
The Hours
msolga,
I haven't read any of Cunningham's other books. I turned away from reading fiction a few years ago in order to concentrate on history.

I watched the planes fly into the WTC on 9/11 because it was the last day before I began a new job. I had intended to watch Martha Stewart, then figure out how I was going to celebrate that day. Until recently, I have been unable to read...I've been watching television, afraid I would "miss" something. Returning to reading the last month or two has been a relief.
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msolga
 
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Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2003 05:19 am
plainoldme

Have had the same problem (though for different reasons, but very preoccupied & busy). Still haven't returned to my normal reading habits, though. I miss it!
So what are you reading now?
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dlowan
 
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Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2003 07:02 am
Have it - haven't reasd it yet - will be interested in comments.

Plainoldme - if you have not yet read Orlando - do! It is a wonderful, glittering conceit of a book!!!!! Very accessible for Woolfe.
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plainoldme
 
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Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2003 01:05 pm
Hi, msolga,
I am reading The Forsyte Saga although I interrupted it to read The Hours and interrupted it again yesterday to read a book -- the title of which escapes me -- by a man named Dick Teresi on the real route of scientific discovery. Heard him partially on public radio -- you know how that is, you listen in the car and interrupt your own listening!
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plainoldme
 
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Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2003 01:06 pm
Thanks, dlowan, for the tip on Orlando. Have the book. Need to find it! Just started a book on science history, a subject I love.
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msolga
 
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Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2003 10:36 pm
The Forsyte saga! What fun!
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