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Pickle Me This

June 9, 2006

The Hours

The worst thing about finishing The Hours by Michael Cunningham on a break at work today was that I was expected to return to my desk and function afterwards. How? So yes, my latest reread. First read starting July 2, 2001, which was the summer I worked with Bronwyn and we spent our lunch hours at bookstores on Front Street and King Street and I purchased a motherlode of books. Sadly, nothing was found inside it. I remember enjoying it the first time, but of course there was a lot I didn’t pick up on. This is apparent, days after finishing Mrs. Dalloway of course, which though not essential to enjoy The Hours, does make for a completely different reading experience. Also, having read Woolf’s essay “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown”, which seemed as essential to The Hours as Mrs. Dalloway is, though this wasn’t completely clear to me until the very end. Of course the last line of Mrs. Dalloway is very important, and I had to read the last line of The Hours (“Come in, Mrs, Brown,” she says. “Everything’s ready.”) twice before I got the reference and then the entire book grew exponentially. The Hours is a feat, I think. Something so complicated could have been done very badly. I love how asymmetrical the parallels are between Mrs. Dalloway and this book. Cunningham has reworked Mrs. Dalloway in such intriguing and surprising ways. But he’s also made a book that stands up on its own, and I think that is really fantastic.

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