I just finished The Hours, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Michael Cunningham, which has been on my TBR list for years. But I never got around to it because, until recently, I hadn’t got around to a necessary pre-read: Mrs. Dalloway (or so I thought, read my recent blog review on Mrs. Dalloway here).
But finally, after seeing that Mrs. Dalloway was the most recent pick for Knopf Doubleday’s #howhaveInotreadthis book club, and that Michael Cunningham would lead the book club discussion, I finally decided I couldn’t put off reading Mrs. Dalloway and the Hours any longer.
And I am so glad I finally read these. Not only are both books fantastic for so many reasons (beautiful prose, profound themes, refreshing style and structure) but Cunningham’s breakdown of Mrs. Dalloway, which is still available on Youtube, literally brought me to tears. Additionally, his analysis of Mrs. Dalloway illuminated nuances and meaning in The Hours that I hadn’t picked up on – it helped me better understand The Hours as so much more than just a retelling or historical fictional, and more as a modern day commentary or reflection on the themes and messages of Mrs. Dalloway (on joy and sadness, on life and death, on success and failure).
Oh, and I can’t end without saying that I also took the time to watch the Academy Award-winning film adaptation of The Hours, which I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. It stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore, and is incredibly faithful to Michael Cunningham’s original plot.
And if you needed yet another form of media to combine with this wonderful literary adventure, I’d recommend listening to Phillip Glass’s motion picture soundtrack / score for this The Hours. I’ve played it while writing or studying for many years, and was glad to finally watch the film that inspired it.
So this was my enlightening, fun, bookish adventure: I read Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours. I tuned into the Knopf Doubleday book club discussion of both on Youtube. I watched The Hours (film) and listened to The Hours (soundtrack).
And in the end I would ten for ten recommend them all.