By Michael Cunningham
(Picador, Paperback, 9780312305062, 240pp.)
Publication Date: November 1, 2002
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"The Hours" tells the story of three women: Virginia Woolf, beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway as she recuperates in a London suburb with her husband in 1923; Clarissa Vaughan, beloved friend of an acclaimed poet dying from AIDS, who in modern-day New York is planning a party in his honor; and Laura Brown, in a 1949 Los Angeles suburb, who slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family and home. By the end of the novel, these three stories intertwine in remarkable ways, and finally come together in an act of subtle and haunting grace. "The Hours" is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Michael Cunningham was raised in Los Angeles and lives in New York City. He is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World (Picador) and Flesh and Blood. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and Best American Short Stories, and he is the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award. The Hours was a New York Times Bestseller, and was chosen as a Best Book of 1998 by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Publishers Weekly.
- Clarissa Vaughan is described as an ordinary woman. Do you accept this valuation? If so, what does it imply about being ordinary? What makes someone, by contrast, extraordinary?