Drawing inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf, Michael Cunningham tells the story of a group of contemporary characters struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair.
The narrative of Woolf’s last days before her suicide early in World War II counterpoints the fictional stories of Samuel, a famous poet whose life has been shadowed by his talented and troubled mother, and his lifelong friend Clarissa, who strives to forge a balanced and rewarding life in spite of the demands of friends, lovers, and family.
The story follows three women – one being Virginia Woolf and the other two fictitious – each affected by suicide in some way within their lives. Cunningham winds the stories together masterfully and it’s probably no surprise he won the Pulitzer for this novel.
You may have seen the film which was also award-winning – with 9 academy award nominations and Nicole Kidman winning the prize for Best Actress.
“What a thrill, what a shock, to be alive on a morning in June, prosperous, almost scandalously privileged, with a simple errand to run.”
“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.”
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
AWARDS: Pulitzer Prize Winner 1999
NEXT UP: I haven’t read Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway yet so have added that to my list.