Books: Woolf in Lizard's Clothing?

Michael Cunningham, the author of The Hours, returns with a risky and admirably reptilian novel

The great thing about being an obscure novelist is that it doesn't matter what you write. "I could do pretty much whatever I wanted," Michael Cunningham remembers fondly, "because nobody was likely to pay attention." That was before Cunningham wrote The Hours, his moving reimagination of the novel Mrs. Dalloway and the life of its author, Virginia Woolf. The book won a Pulitzer. Nicole Kidman got an Oscar for the movie. Just like that, Cunningham's precious obscurity was gone. "It's harder to feel the necessary degree of recklessness when people are paying attention," he says. "You have to be willing to...

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