Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer and Pen/Faulkner prizes, The Hours is a daring and deeply affecting novel inspired by the life and work of Virginia Woolf. A passionate, profound and haunting story of love and inheritance, hope and despair. Exiled in Richmond in the 1920s, taken from her beloved Bloomsbury and lovingly watched over by her husband Leonard, Virginia Woolf struggles to tame her rebellious mind and make a start on her new novel. In the brooding heat of 1940s Los Angeles, a young wife and mother yearns to escape the claustrophobia of suburban domesticity and read her precious copy of Mrs Dalloway. And in New York in the 1990s, Clarissa Vaughan steps out of her smart Greenwich Village apartment and goes shopping for flowers for the party she is giving in honour of her life-long friend Richard, an award-winning poet whose mind and body are being ravaged by AIDS. These are the characters in Michael Cunningham's exquisite and deeply moving novel, which takes Woolf's life and work as inspiration for a meditation on artistic behaviour, failure, love and madness. Moving effortlessy across the decades and between England and America, Cunningham's elegant, haunting prose explores the pain and trauma of creativity and the immutable relationship between writer and reader.
Shortlisted for International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2000 and IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2000.
'The Hours is a book which heightens the perception of the reader. Cunningham's craftmanship is overwheming.' Robert Farren, Sunday Independent * 'An extremely moving, original and memorable novel' Hermione Lee, TLS * 'Engrossing, imaginative and humane.' Richard Francis, Observer
Michael Cunningham was raised in Los Angeles and now lives in New York. His first novel A Home at the End of the World was published in 1990. and his second Flesh and Blood in 1995. His work has been published in the New Yorker and Best American Short Stories 1989.