Virginia Woolf, my mother and me | Books | The Guardian

Author Michael Cunningham writes about how, as a teenager, he discovered Virginia Woolf through a reading of her novel Mrs. Dalloway, and how his own mother figured in his attempt to write about Woolf in his novel The Hours.

As a woman, Woolf knew about the sense of helplessness that can afflict women given too little to do. And she knew – she insisted – that a life spent maintaining a house and throwing parties was not necessarily, not categorically, a trivial life. She gave us to understand that even a modest, domestic life was still, for the person living it, an epic journey, however ordinary it might appear to an outside observer. She refused to dismiss lives that most other writers tended to ignore.