Michael cunningham by nightfall review

6.25  ·  2,850 ratings  ·  593 reviews
michael cunningham by nightfall review

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham

Peter and Rebecca Harris: mid-forties denizens of Manhattan’s SoHo, nearing the apogee of committed careers in the arts—he a dealer, she an editor. With a spacious loft, a college-age daughter in Boston, and lively friends, they are admirable, enviable contemporary urbanites with every reason, it seems, to be happy. Then Rebecca’s much younger look-alike brother, Ethan (known in thefamily as Mizzy, “the mistake”), shows up for a visit. A beautiful, beguiling twenty-three-year-old with a history of drug problems, Mizzy is wayward, at loose ends, looking for direction. And in his presence, Peter finds himself questioning his artists, their work, his career—the entire world he has so carefully constructed.

Like his legendary, Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Hours, Michael Cunningham’s masterly new novel is a heartbreaking look at the way we live now. Full of shocks and aftershocks, it makes us think and feel deeply about the uses and meaning of beauty and the place of love in our lives.<
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By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham--Audiobook Excerpt

A resonant image appears right at the beginning of the book: the cruel and random death of one of the horses that pulls those twee carriages around the city.
Michael Cunningham

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He has just turned He has a good marriage, an absorbing career, enough money, good friends. It does. Rebecca dotes on her little brother, acting like a cross between his mother and his lover in the quintessentially female way of adoration that shoulders neglect, of delight that is always disappointed, of responsibility that is derived from both love and guilt she and Peter have a troubled, wayward daughter of their own. Envy and admiration — why are the rest of us so conscientious, so well behaved? Cunningham has taken on the classic plot of the uninvited or unexpected stranger or guest whose arrival brings chaos, self-knowledge, tragedy, the ruin of one kind of life that may or may not lead to something better.

Philip Womack finds Michael Cunningham's By Nightfall to be a thing of beauty.

Except the associations are a constant reminder that this is a good novel rather than a great one. His characters, however, are very particular types: not Madame Bovary but merely people who read Madame Bovary. It gives the book an airless quality, as if written by a curator rather than a creator. Since the protagonist is an art dealer, this could be deliberate, that Cunningham wants us to see his cast as limited by their pretensions. Available from Telegraph Books Love puzzles? Get the best at Telegraph Puzzles.

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  1. Ovalswagof says:

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  2. Nick C. says:

    The Globe and Mail

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