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am 2. Januar 2014
Diese Buch ist einfach großartig, so meisterhaft geschrieben und so perfekt durchkomponiert. Über die sich ineinander webende Handlung ist schon viel geschrieben worden, aber das ganze in einer traumartigen Prosa, die so sinnlich ist und schön, wie es meiner Meinung nach erstaunlicherweise auch der Film schafft zu transportieren. Ein tolles Buch, ich weiß nicht wie die Übersetzung ist, auf Englisch ist es ein Meisterwerk.
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am 2. Oktober 1999
Michael Cunningham has produced a genuine masterpiece, a brilliant work of art truly deserving of the Pulitzer Prize Award. It is to my mind the most outstanding novel I have read this year. Nobody who loves serious fiction or literature should miss it. It is THAT good. I can only surmise that Cunningham is a follower of Virgina Woolf. He is so imbued with her spirit that his prose reads almost like hers. His uncanny grasp of her "stream of consciousness" style lends a special resonance to the exploration of the "interior lives" of three women from different times who share a common predicament, that of a disconcerting dislocation from their external existence. There's Virgina Woolf, the author of "Mrs Dalloway" and central inspiration for the novel ; Laura Brown from a later age who reads "Mrs Dalloway" to escape the crushing nihilism of her domesticity and unconvincing contentment ; and Clarissa Vaughn, the modern day reincarnation of Woolf's celebrated heroine. While "The Hours" is a tour-de-force in its own right, my own enjoyment of it was so greatly enhanced by my familiarity with its source that I can only recommend fellow readers to first read the Woolf classic for inspiration before taking the plunge. The recurring theme of suicide, madness and sexual ambiguity as they are explored in the novel take on a special meaning armed with that understanding. There are two images which haunt the novel like a great spirit towering over the action - that from the opening sequence of Virginia calmly filling her pocket with a stone as she prepares to drown herself in the river and the closing sequence, where Laura is revealed to be the old woman from the contemporary story who looks out from the window opposite and witnesses a suicide. The use of the latter as a technical devise to draw the threads together for the close is a pure stroke of genius and a masterful sleight of hand ! This is a brilliant, brilliant piece of work that deserves the widest readership possible. I would have given it a SIX STAR rating had it been possible.
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am 26. April 2000
This book was engrossing because of the author's use of language. He describes three situations simultaneously from three distinct time periods, and manages to eloquently capture the different emotions stirring in each character. Despite the author's use of language, I felt that three stars was appropriate for this book because of the overall lack of plot and character development.
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am 5. April 2000
Virginia Woolf he is not. This novel is loaded with overblown language, the worst over-the-top sort of sentimentality, and is just plainly and blatantly full of itself. Worst of all, there is no content to speak of. Nothing. The language is the opposite of dense. It is so full of air that it threatens to blow away, and many times while I was reading I wished that it would. It resembles most closely, not Virginia Woolf (that champion of beautiful language and observation) but rather a college freshman intent on showing off how good he is at writing. In all honesty it is the worst literary book I have ever read, and probably the worst book of any kind that I have ever read. I'm glad it's over. Good riddance. And how this book could win any award is unfathomable, unless it was because it rode Virginia Woolf's coattails and made the appropriate bows and scrapes to topical issues.
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am 30. Dezember 2002
No, not a morbid study of suicide - rather a celebrationof life and living it moment by moment. Essential for anyone remotely interested in the 'soul's journey' - or call it whatever you might, this work connects deeply and with great feeling - perhaps achieving what Mrs. Woolf didn't quite manage during her lifetime - making the reader or viewer aware of 'connections'.
Footnote: The novel has been [brilliantly] realized on film with Julianne Moore [indelible], Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Woolf - not to be missed - quite, quite essential.
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am 2. Juni 1999
inia Wolff and places her dilemma in the context of two contemporary women. One woman, begins her stuggle for identity at the end of World War II. She would rather read the novel Mrs. Dalloway, than participate in family life. Reluctantly she goes the motions of preparing a cake with her small son for her husband's birthday. She cannot bring about the emotional commitment to this kind of living.
The second contemporary woman, Clarissa, is nicknamed Mrs. Dalloway, and she relives the opening scene of that novel. She, too , struggles with a meaning to her life and finds it lacking. Her realationships are all frought with her self-imposed fears and disappointments.
And then, there is Virginia Wolff herself, struggling with the beginning of the novel "Mrs. Dalloway"
All three characters weave in and out of this tale of psychological hell, and the ending is a grand epiphany which brings the characters together.
I have a minor criticism. The author writes about a flower shop in June and describes its contents. HOwever, paperwhites are not available at that time of year. They are finished the the first week of May.
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am 28. Februar 2000
In "The Hours," Pulitzer prize winning author Michael Cunningham, sews together a seemingly disconnected menagerie of three separate lives into a magnificently woven and thoughtfully created patchwork. Within the duration of 24 hours, our author guides us through the actions, thoughts, hopes and fears of three women including (most ambitiously) Virginia Woolfe as she spins out her timeless masterpiece, Mrs. Dalloway. While Cunningham seamlessly weaves his stories together, the destination is much less impressive that the journey itself. As the hours pass, we travel through a day in the lives these individuals have chosen. In fact, choice, is perhaps the most conspicuous theme that lurks ominously behind the daily machinations of Cunningham's characters. Laura, a post-war housewife, battles her conflicted domestic situation on an almost incessant basis as she futiley attempts, with her objectified little boy, to bake the birthday cake of all cakes -- a task which she is innately incapable of and ultimately disempassioned about achieving. Similarly, Clarissa, a successful contemporary publisher, spends her hours toiling over the details of a tributary party being thrown for her dearest friend, a dying poet who will never attend. Finally, our historical heroine, Woolfe, will spend her morning birthing words for her novel which she exhaustively regards like a new mother upon a distorted newborn. Like Sisyphus on the hill, all three women are imprisoned by the details of their chosen lives, both loathing and addicted to them at all times. Cunningham successully captures the chaotic thoughts of his characters in a very real and human manner. He quite masterfully takes us through the rapid impulses of feeling a person experiences on an hourly if not, momentary basis. The contrast between what one does versus what one feels, predominates the landscape of these characters' day as does the ever unrequited longing for what "might have been." In the end, we come away a realism that is both sobering and full of promise that there may only be the pure cherish of a city, the morning and the hope for anything more.
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am 1. Oktober 1999
A few sentences into Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Hours, one is aware that the reading of this book will be an altogether different experience. It will be trance-like, a dreamed interlude with a beautifully tragic story. A relatively short novel at 226 pages, it is somewhat astonishing what the author achieves. Intricately woven story lines, together with an impressive lyrical and poetic language, Cunningham has written a novel that transcends itself.
Named after Virginia Woolf's temporary title for her acclaimed novel, Mrs. Dalloway, this novel treads on rather cautious ground. Woolf is not only a major character in the book, but is an ever-present voive almost reading the words to us. Cunningham has talked of the enormous amount of research that went into the writing of the book--the reading of Woolf's entire literary canon, as well as letters, biographies, critical essays on the eccentric author. He also made a trip to London to Woolf's old residence and to the river where she took her own life. (See Poets & Writers, July/August 1999 issue for an interview with Cunningham) I say "cautious ground" in that Cunningham takes great literary freedom with Woolf's persona and psychological being. The prologue begins the novel with Woolf's last moments alive, of her chilling walk down to the river. It is a tragically moving opening, tense and intimate--a walk toward what we know will be an end of life. Here, in the first paragraphs of The Hours, we become aware that Woolf is guiding Cunningham who is guiding us: "She herself has failed. She is not a writer at all, really, she is merely a gifted eccentric[...] She has failed, and now the voices are back, muttering indistinctly just beyond the range of her vision, behind her, here, no turn and they've gone somewhere else."
Many voices are heard in the novel, which follow one day in the life of three women at three different eras of the twentieth century. We find Virginia Woolf in Richmond, a suburb of London, in 1923, as she begins to write and formulate what would become her novel, Mrs. Dalloway. We also follow Laura Brown, a disenchanted housewife in 1950s California, on the day of her war hero husband's birthday. And thirdly, we discover Clarissa Vaughn in modern day Greenwich Village, as she prepares a party for her good friend, an AIDS-stricken poet who has just won a major literary award.
The chapters weave in and out of each other, paralleled in many ways. In the end, Cunningham brings the stories together in a well-crafted manner that the reader can almost sense before the final chapters. These are the stories of dissatisfied women, human beings finding themselves at the center questions of life. There is, in each character, a pulling away from what they think is real, the identity, the living. They undergo the act of finding a new perspective of things, of the understanding of not understanding, the momentariness of things, feelings, and perceptions. The reader gets a sense that he or she is at the heart of it all. Woolf is caught at the center of mortality and creativity--she must endure the droll suburbs of Richmond for her health's sake, though she is spiritually pulled toward her London sanctuary of art and culture. Laura Brown is imprisoned in the ideology of family and womanly duty--her only escape is in the reading of Woolf's, Mrs. Dalloway, in a hotel room she rents for the afternoon. And for Clarissa Vaughn, we find a stuggle to reconcile the past, present, and future of a life's ongoing experience. Each character wants one thing: freedom. Freedom from the hours of restraint, when one is held by the responsibilty to oneself or to others. Freedom from decision, from anything that interrupts the will, the dream, the soul's breath. Whether or not any of these characters achieve this freedom is no doubt the reader's own decision to make.
The Hours marks the fourth novel of Cunningham's career. And it is clear that this is a novel just as much about him as it is by him. One can sense that the work is about creation, about the labor of making. For the characters in the novel, they seek to create comfort--comfort in a life that clearly does not offer it, and sometimes might even deny it. The author seeks to find himself in the writing process, and thus to find his own comfort as a writer. One cannot help but to see the relationship between Woolf and Cunningham as they begin to become voices for each other. A scene of Woolf at her desk is also a scene of Cunningham at his desk, of his ideas of the process. It is not a surprise that this novel garnered such high praise as the Pulitzer. The Hours is what a novel should be: an exploration into the heart of life, and of what we create for ourselves while we live it.
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am 13. April 2000
Cunningham's "The Hours" is a luminous mesmerizing piece, aloft and afloat like Poe's "dream within a dream." The narrative deftly slips from the mentally-fragile Virginia Woolf (away from bright complex confusion of London for a suburban "cure" in the 20's while formulating "Mrs. Dalloway") to Laura (whose marriage in the sun-splintered vividness of 50's LA suddenly becomes a prismatic entrapment) to Clarissa (a publisher w/in artful NYC in the AIDS-decimated 90's.) This triptych is a remarkably readable measure of the mundane's depths and heights as we move through a single day in these three women's lives.
Echoic motifs reverberate throughout, including "a room (and/or time and space) of one's own," the need for exquisite moments to perfect one's creation, yellow roses, a hovering presence just out of peripheral sight, the nearness of death within life, a spontaneous trip crowding the day's duties, a taboo kiss between women, and sanity coming undone in the bright brash confusions of the respective modern lives --to name but several. However, the power is in the telling here, the use of language as a medium for slipping into these streams of consciousness and their respective milieus.
Read it on a spring afternoon, or create that sense by reading it anytime.
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am 15. November 2010
This book is a must read roman. The story is brilliant, the topic is taken from real life and the characters are very well described. All those facts make this book to a must read roman which captivates you until the end.

In this book there are three different sets, times and protagonists. The first is the British authoress Virginia Woolf, there is also a housewife Laura Brown. Besides to those two women there is Clarissa Vaughan from New York City. All of those women love someone and are loved by someone, but nevertheless they aren't satisfied with their daily grind and feel captured from doctors, the youthlove or the husband.

It all begins with the story of Virginia Woolf in 1923 who starts to write a new roman named 'Mrs. Dalloway'. In this book she wants to write all her feelings and everything which puts pressure on her life thus she can express all her sensitivities which she can't tell her husband because she feels heteronomous. Additionally to this story there is the story of Laura Brown in 1949 who lives in Los Angeles. She reads this book and feel herself adressed to the feelings and situation explained in the book. Those problems are also the reason why she wants to die. But commits she suicide?
The whole story is perfected whith Clarissa Vaughan who lives in the 90's in New York City. She has got the same life and you mean that she Clarissa Vaughan is Victoria Woolf. Like Victoria Woolf is she captured and can't live freely because of her youthlove. The end of the book is my favourite part.
The author let all the strands of the plot come together and gives new hope.

It's great how all those diffrent stories, times and protagonist are connected only about one book , namely 'Mrs. Dalloway'. One woman who writes it, one who read it and one who lives like the author of the book. But don't think that's confusing to read in that Michael Cunningham knows how to melt and nest all those diffrent chapters in one good plot which flows and has got always a lot of suspence.
All things considered in this book is everything: Love, death, depression...
I can recommend it to everybody who enjoys not only the 'normal' stories, but the very good ones.

Hans Lohrmann
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