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.
I started reading this book during the BookTubeathon and immediately fell in love with the writing. I thought the language was very elegant and helped create a clear picture of the surroundings and time period.
The three stories mirror each other through time. All showing in some way the story of Clarissa Dalloway. It’s clever but it made me feel a bit stupid because I felt like I didn’t “get it” completely. Like I missed some of the subtle hints and therefore didn’t see the full picture. I like it when everything comes together in the end, when all the pieces of the puzzle fit together perfectly and I believe that was the idea here but it didn’t work for me.
I also couldn’t connect with any of the characters. They all had parts where I could see myself reflected in their lives, but not enough to really understand them, to feel for them.
So all in all, this was a bit of a disappointment for me. When I saw it won the Pulitzer Prize, my expectations rose significantly. It did not deliver.
Like I said, the writing was great, but the story let me down.
Have you read it?
What did you think?