Chad Schimke

Thursday, September 12, 2013

THE HOURS

The HoursThe Hours by Michael Cunningham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE HOURS – The novel skillfully interweaves three story lines: Virginia Wolf as she writes Mrs. Dallaway, Laura Brown (a Leave it to Beaver sort of fifties housewife) and Clarissa Vaughan a Manhattanite in the midst of planning a party. The Hours by Michael Cunningham explores what it was (might have been like?) to be a lesbian within three specific historical contexts (1920, 1950 and approximately 1990). It also explores varied aspects of illness--such as the AIDS epidemic, depression, suicide and mental illness--in that the story moves from past to present and back to past again. Cunningham is the award winning author of several additional books including A Home at the End of the World as well as Flesh and Blood. For many reasons, I place Cunningham and Easton-Ellis on a similar shelf in terms of contemporary American literary criticism. Up to (and including) their progress wresting free sexual liberation from the USA’s puritanical moral code, exploration of LGBT studies and the use of stream-of-consciousness in terms of literary technique.

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