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Extended Audio Sample The Hours Audiobook, by Michael Cunningham Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (62,518 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Cunningham Narrator: Michael Cunningham Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2003 ISBN: 9781593973483
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This book is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The movie version was nominated for nine Academy Awards.

Passionate, profound, and deeply moving, The Hours tells the story of three women: Clarissa Vaughan, who one New York morning goes about planning a party in honor of a beloved friend; Laura Brown, who in a 1950s Los Angeles suburb slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family and home; and Virginia Woolf, recuperating with her husband in a London suburb and beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway.

By the end of the novel, the stories have intertwined, and finally come together in an act of subtle and haunting grace, demonstrating Michael Cunningham’s deep empathy for his characters as well as the extraordinary resonance of his language.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Intricate…Richly imagined…A profoundly compassionate meditation on life and death.”

    Elle

  • “A smashing literary tour de force and an utterly invigorating reading experience.”

    USA Today
  • “The overall impression is that of a delicate, triumphant glance, an acknowledgement of Woolf that takes her into Cunningham’s own territory, a place of late-century danger but also of treasurable hours.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Cunningham dazzles in his inspired The Hours.”

    Vanity Fair

  • An exquisitely written, kaleidoscopic work that anchors a floating postmodern world on pre-modern caissons of love, grief, and transcendent longing. Los Angeles Times
  • Cunningham has created something original, a trio of richly interwoven tales...his most mature and masterful work. Washington Post Book World
  • “The triumph of The Hours is that it somehow manages to be both artful and sincere, striking nary a false note…And the triumph of the book is no less the triumph of its author. Just when it seemed that it was no longer permissible to pay respect to the literature of the past, Cunningham has done so with an undeniable skill and depth of feeling.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • The Hours is in fact a lovely triumph. Cunningham honors both Mrs. Dalloway and its creator with unerring sensitivity, thanks to his modesty of intention and his sovereignly affecting prose…With his elliptical evocation of Mrs. Dalloway, he has managed to pay great but quiet tribute—reminding us of the gorgeous, ferocious beauty of what endures.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Cunningham writes beautifully about relationships, living and dying, and love…It’s hard not to audibly gasp with both pleasure and shock.”

    Detroit Free Press

  • “Luxurious…The Hours tells three interwoven stories; Woolf’s novel echoes through all of them in interesting and uncanny ways…Cunningham writes with an empathy that approaches Woolf’s.”

    Newsday

  • “[A] fine novel…bringing to light the buried connection his three characters share, capturing in each the illuminating and transforming moment.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “[The Hours] is both a clever tribute to the life and work of Virginia Woolf, and a brilliant examination of the quietly desperate lives of three women.”

    Seattle Times

  • “His language is always on key, unfailing and measured, rich without sating, and haunting in the way Woolf’s is. It is resonant with the suggestiveness of suppressed desires and unexpressed needs.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “[A] brilliant tour de force…His ending is surprising and stunning. This is a skillfully wrought novel thoroughly imbued with the spirit of Virginia Woolf and crafted in keeping with her rare excellence.”

    Miami Herald

  • “Brilliant…Haunting—winding skeins of words that, as they unspool, render vividly the three heroines’ complex interior lives.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “[A] remarkable new novel…A concise, brilliant rendering of three eras.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “Brilliant…It’s the work of a talented writer taking an adventurous plunge below the obvious surface of things. The Hours has the heft of flesh and blood, the subtlety of art.”

    Hartford Courant

  • “Rich and beautifully nuanced scenes follow one upon the other…[A] gargantuan accomplishment.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • Winner of the 1999 PEN/Faulkner Award
  • Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A 1998 New York Times Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
  • Nominated for Lambda Literary Award - Nominee, 1998
  • Winner of ALA Notable Books - Winner, 2000
  • Winner of PEN/Faulkner Award - Winner, 1999
  • Nominated for Boston Book Review - Nominee, 1999
  • Nominated for Book Sense Book of the Year Award - Nominee, 2001
  • Winner of ALA Stonewall Book Award - Winner, 1999
  • Nominated for International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award - Nominee, 2000
  • Nominated for National Book Critics Circle Awards - Nominee, 1998
  • Winner of Triangle Awards - Winner, 1999
  • Winner of Pulitzer Prize - Winner, 1999

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom Kulesa | 2/20/2014

    " Heartbreakingly gorgeous. Lingered in the subway station on more than one occasion 'cause I HAD to finish the chapter. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathleen Scribner | 2/17/2014

    " I found this book depressing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joel Chernoff | 2/5/2014

    " Beautifully written story of three connected lives. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica M | 2/1/2014

    " I think this might be added to my list of favorite books....excellent, excellent. Read it. If you want to know more, ask me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pearlanne | 1/30/2014

    " I thought this book was pretty amazing until I went back and read Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, which was really amazing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eric Cartier | 1/29/2014

    " This won the Pulitzer Prize? It's fine, but not a revelatory text. I'd rather have read another Woolf novel instead. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenn Burt | 1/22/2014

    " This is not a happy book. If you want a happy book, do yourself a favor and don't read this one. That said, I love this book. I read it when it first came out and then again before I saw the movie. (The movie is decent, but I found the book so much better - as I usually do when it comes to book vs. movie comparisons!) It is deeply disturbing, intensely emotional, and beautifully written. Fantastic! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gigi | 1/9/2014

    " A bit gloomy but certainly worth the read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phwade143 | 1/7/2014

    " I loved this book and the movie. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ruth Fabiano | 1/6/2014

    " Forgive me, but rather than be about repressed homosexuality, I took this as more of a polarization of society towards mental illness and depression. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Serena Fontenoy | 1/6/2014

    " It could have been the time in my life that I was reading this, but this book tore me apart and made me question everything I was doing. Great book to read, but thoroughly depressing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom Walsh | 12/14/2013

    " Meandering and pretentious, but a good novel. Now, I suppose you're going to tell me, "That doesn't make any sense." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dana | 11/23/2013

    " So wonderful! I couldn't put the book down, it was such an impeccably written character study! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rita Andres | 11/5/2013

    " This book was a little depressing, but the relationship between the three women is very intriguing. This book is very well written with a very interesting format and a "surprise" that I somewhat expected in the end. It is a quick read and definitely not dull. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nancy | 8/27/2013

    " The book was depressing although well-written. And I was intrigued by the format. All was resolved in the end and I did not realize the connections between the characters until the very end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hermien | 5/25/2013

    " Michael Cunningham has really captured Virgina Woolf's style in this book. It was a pleasure to read and a great companion piece to Mrs Dalloway. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Candice | 5/1/2013

    " You should read this while listening to the OST. Mind-blowing. It's so beautiful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jomatthan | 2/25/2013

    " What an utterly disturbing read! Beautiful prose for sure but not for the faint-hearted or low in spirit. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Don | 1/4/2013

    " Great modern look at one of the great books of the 20th Century, Mrs. Dalloway. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzanne Tyrpak | 11/18/2012

    " I loved this book--love the way it weaves in and out of time. Michael Cunningham is a master wordsmith. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carmen | 8/25/2012

    " Very interesting plot! Book is better than the movie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Whitney Oaks | 7/30/2012

    " I borrowed this from my teacher when I was in High School. Interesting read, and much better than the movie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Corine | 5/20/2012

    " I enjoyed this book very much. I saw the film before I read the book, and I'm glad the book is similar to the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rontab | 2/27/2012

    " M. Cunnigham writes so well. I read it at a comfortable pace to feel the ups and downs (usually downs) of each character. Vivid, sad, nuanced. Loved it! The film was a very good adaptation too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aleia | 11/28/2011

    " Loved the style and artistry. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Clint | 9/9/2011

    " Slow - how did this win a pulitzer. It never grabbed me! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 RH Walters | 7/12/2011

    " Gorgeous, with details that pull at you like the stones in Virginia Woolf's pockets. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bennett | 6/30/2011

    " Damn son, why'd you read this?! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Whitney | 5/16/2011

    " I borrowed this from my teacher when I was in High School. Interesting read, and much better than the movie. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Robin | 5/13/2011

    " While the arrangement of the three different stories wrapped together in this novel, I did not enjoy it. But it was short... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chris | 5/6/2011

    " This is one of those books the critics love but the audience hates because of its snobbery. Oh, and why is every character in the book gay? Just askin'? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maria | 4/25/2011

    " Destined to be one of my favorite books. Beautiful. "

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About the Author
Author Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize), Specimen Days, and By Nightfall, as well as the nonfiction book, Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown. He teaches at Yale University.