Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Hours by Michael Cunningham

She hurries from the house, wearing a coat too heavy for the weather.

A slightly melodramatic (forgive the oxymoron) image that insinuates tension without actually providing the substance of tension. I added the weather cliche opening for this, even though, strictly speaking we aren't privy to the weather, but one can't get around the fact that the weather plays a big role in this opening line. I can't help but think that this book is going to be in the Virginia Woolf style.

It is 1941. Another war has begun.

I'm not sure which war this is referring to. It can't be WW 2 since that war is not beginning in 1941, already being two years into the conflict. Was there another war happening during the Second World War that I don't know about? Or in those days was the European conflict referred to as one thing and the Japanese-American conflict as another? Regardless, these two sentences leave me puzzled, and it's not the good kind of puzzled that makes me want to keep reading this book, it's the bad kind, that makes me want to put this novel down and grab a history book.

Worse still, the first paragraph and Ms. Pronoun roam along for almost three pages. The first sentence of the last paragraph of this prologue is:

Here they are, on a day early in the Second World War... 

So this only confuse the lines written above even more. Overall the prologue is wafting sentimentality, so much so that the reader is in danger of getting light-headed and passing out. Perhaps that's as it should be as the prologue in its roundabout way is on the topic of suicide and not just any random old boring suicide, but none other than Virginia Woolf's, laced with a dash of the romantic.

Chapter 1:

There are still the flowers to buy.

I can't help but think that this book is going to be in the Virginia Woolf style.

First thing said:

"Madame went out"

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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