Monday, January 24, 2011

The Hours

Pulitzer Prize winning Michael Cunningham wrote The Hours over ten years ago. Since then it was made into a beautiful major motion picture that is both startling and moving and (in my opinion) very well adapted from the book.

I read the book years ago when I was only a freshman in college. During my junior year I took a film class where we watched the film and it brought me back to the book. Now, this year, I've read it again. It is always amazing how different books are each time you sit down and read them. I notice things I never paid attention to beforehand and sometimes I understand the plots more simply because I've had experiences similar to the characters. This is what growing up does to you.

The Hours, a tale of three women, all from very different times and all tied together through actions and feelings. What I love is the power of Virginia Woolf's writing that has influenced all the women involved. The creative process and near obsession of coming up with a plot and deciding what will happen to the characters and when (shown through Woolf's chapters) I find to be accurate and written beautifully. When I've been 'in the writing mood' I literally sink into the world of which I am writing. I find it hard to escape and even when doing normal life functions such as having tea or socializing I'll find my mind slipping back to the characters and thinking of who will die, how it will affect others, what will happen to so and so.

The parallels of each plot line are so lovely and every time I read the book I notice how each character has the same experiences, no matter how small. Roses, always the mention of roses. Mrs. Brown surrounds her roses with presents for her husbands birthday, Clarissa buys roses for the party she will put on, Woolf places roses around a dead bird and has her well known character Mrs. Dalloway buy flowers.

I mean it when I say that the book always holds a newly revealed secret each time I read it. It's beautiful and haunting. It makes you open your eyes and reconsider your life, to look at it from a different perspective. At least this is how it's affected me. And don't even get me started on the movie. I love it. I love that film and the score to it. It's just lovely.

The book, with so many mentions of springtime warmth, was wonderful to read. Especially now while we have ice covering the windows and the snow plows driving by. I can't even see outside, just blurred ghostly images of everything that passes by through the sheet of ice.

There is one thing this book most certainly caused me to do, so be forewarned it might happen to you, I went out and bought flowers.

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