minervasowl's Reviews > The Hours

The Hours by Michael Cunningham
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's review
Mar 29, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction

I'm a little ashamed to admit that I read this book because Oprah told me to.

Actually Oprah, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman told me to.

It must have been a Thursday or Friday afternoon because those were the days off the last time I had a job for which I worked weekends.

The episode with these three ladies was a little unconventional for Oprah. Rather than conducting an interview from her usual studio, she met them for tea in a fancy hotel. And it didn't so much seem like an interview as four women sitting down to tea and talking about their lives and careers and this movie which three of them had just done together.

I'm not a big Oprah devotee, so I am quite sure that I have not seen enough episodes to warrant making such a statement, but it was one of her best episodes. These weren't huge Hollywood movie stars. Well, of course they were, but that is not how they were portrayed. They were women with families and careers and lives. There was no sensationalism. There was no gossip. there was no scandal or controversy. It was just tea.

Afterwards, I got picked up my keys and immediately drove to the bookstore and purchased a copy of The Hours by Michael Cunningham. I hadn't seen the movie. I still haven't seen the movie. I have no interest in the movie. But the book is positively sublime.

The way that the author braids together the threads of the lives of his three characters is subtle and deft. Maybe everyone else saw the conclusion coming, but I did not. When I reached it, however, it didn't deliver a shock or a surprise but a feeling that everything connected exactly as it should.
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03/26/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by S. (new) - rated it 5 stars

S. It is an exquisite book but -guess what?- you should also see the movie. Not quite as good, but still gorgeous. The medium of film and three stupendous actresses bring something to the story as well.

Talia This is the ONLY case in which I think the movie is actually better than the book, but I didn't care much for the book.

Wayne Yes.I saw the film simply because I enjoy Virginia Woolf and knew nothing about the book or plot.
Felt compelled to see the film again a couple of days later.I was very moved and only noticed that many of the main characters were gay when discussing the film with friends later.(Love is love, gay or straight.)

I would have to add Toni Colette to make it 4 Great Actresses.AND Clare Danes and Miranda Richardson!!!Plus a wonderful male supporting cast.
Perhaps this Powerhouse of Talent made my reading of the book an utter Letdown.Usually I find the book much richer.
I found myself taking my Mum and a friend to see the film YET AGAIN some time later.Must say my expected boredom did not eventuate .To my pleasure and amazement I continued to mine it for further insights and still was stirred to strong emotional response.

I have just taken down the book...determined to give it another go!!!!
Nice to come across three others who responded strongly too. Happy reading...and movies too!!!!

Melanie Walker The movie is spectacular. I haven't read the book yet (but it's next on my list!) The film is really wonderful, though, you really should see it. The soundtrack, by Philip Glass, is a wonderful addition as well--it just adds to the whole viewing experience.

message 5: by Ally (new) - added it

Ally The Bright Young Things would like to invite you to share your opinions on this book (and others). If you haven't already checked us out please pop in...


Melanie Walker So I finally read the book, and I must say, it was even more intriguing than the movie. I've never read anything else by Michael Cunningham, so I don't know if his style is naturally similar to that of Virginia Woolf, or if he did it on purpose to add to the atmosphere and the message. No matter the purpose, his language was wildly beautiful, yet seeping with regrets and depression. I love his comparison of Clarissa to a mammoth, rooted up to her waist in tar while waiting for the traffic light to change. These metaphors give the book a quality that no film can ever have--description, style, these are all things that breath life into novels. A life that no film can possibly have. A film shows an image, but a novel speaks of it; this is why I can never find a film as entrancing as the novel. Of course, there are amazing movies, ones that construct images and scripts that keep all my attention (Pan's Labyrinth, for example)--but nothings as great as a good book :)

Tammy Very funny! "It must have been a Thursday or a Friday..." Your send-up is as it should be: ADORABLE. But I'm the one who should be ashamed. Without The Hours, I could never have finished Mrs. Dalloway.

message 8: by Kaaren (new)

Kaaren Nafar Oprah, I lover her, but she has shitty taste in books: The Secret, Eat, Pray, Love... Seriously?

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