In 1929, Virginia Woolf is starting to write her novel, 'Mrs. Dalloway, ' under the care of doctors and family. In 1951, Laura Brown is planning for her husband's birthday, but is preoccupied with reading Woolf's novel. In 2001, Clarrisa Vaughn is planning an award party for her friend, an author dying of AIDS. Taking place over one day, all three stories are interconnected with the novel: one is writing it, one is reading it, and one is living it.