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A Home at the End of the World: A Novel Paperback – November 15, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1st Picador USA pbk. ed edition (November 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312202318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312202316
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two very different boys are drawn together by their oppressive home lives and by a connection that is both brotherly and sexual in this superb audio adaptation of Cunningham's vivid coming-of-age tale. Clevelanders Bobby Morrow and Jonathan Glover become childhood friends in the 1960s, and their friendship persists well into the '80s, when first Jonathan and then Bobby moves to New York City. There they meet aging hippie Clare, who imposes her own needs upon the two men. Clare, read with unflappable clarity by Van Dyck, attempts to build a normal life for herself using Bobby to become pregnant and Jonathan as emotional support. But as Jonathan's perceptive mother, Alice, warns her son, the unusual family they're creating won't last. Actors Farrell and Roberts—who play Bobby and Jonathan respectively in the Warner Brothers motion picture—fill the same roles here, and both deliver moving, understated performances. Although some listeners will wish they could soak up this absorbing story all in one sitting, the narrators' well-paced readings force the listener to sit back and appreciate the intricacy and skill of Cunningham's exquisite prose.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Cunningham's novel focuses on the close friendship of Bobby and Jonathan. As boyhood friends growing up in Cleveland in the late Sixties and Seventies, Bobby and Jonathan form a relationship that is both average and far beyond what most kids would consider "normal." After high school Jonathan moves to New York City, where Bobby soon follows. They become involved with Clare, a slightly older woman who finds each one appealing in his own way. The rest of the novel centers on their unusual life together. This well-written book has lots of good dialog and will appeal to readers who want something other than the tried and true best seller.
- Mary K. Prokop, CEL Regional Lib., Savannah, Ga.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize), and Specimen Days. He lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

The first time I read this book, I was blown away.
Leslie Gross
Second, I think that Cunningham knows every one of his characters inside out--he knows more than he tells us--because these people are utterly real and convincing.
Petsounds
Cunningham has written a lyrical masterpiece whose characters are engrossing and real.
D. Bvumbe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

168 of 174 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Matluck on June 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
I haven't got the words to describe what this book did to me. I wept and bled over its 343 increasingly magnificent pages only to be left in a state of such disorientation that I'm not sure I can write coherently (and certainly not objectively) about it. Yet I'm determined to explain some things, so here goes.
This story is not, I think, so much about two boys' (and, eventually, two men's) search for love as it is about one boy's (Bobby's) search for love and one boy's (Jonathan's) search for how to love. The two are brought together, more by instinct than fate, on their first day of junior high school. Bobby, the less excitable if less conventionally "disciplined" of the two, brings with him a tragic past: he had recently lost his beloved brother to a freak accident, and his mother, a few years later, to suicide. Jonathan is the only child of loving but repressed parents; each, therefore, has something the other craves. At an early point in their friendship, Jonathan, acting rashly, almost gets killed in an accident that brings home to Bobby the loss of his brother. I can think of no more beautiful passage in recent literature than the one that describes Bobby's reaction while helping his friend home, swearing at him in a rage (notably Bobby's only outburst in the book) while holding Jonathan to him tighter and tighter. Thus does Bobby establish Jonathan, in his mind, as his surrogate brother, which allows him to fall in love with his friend without (at this point) having to admit to his sexuality.
As time passes the two begin to inhabit each other's skin (both figuratively and literally), and when Jonathan finally leaves for college in New York, Bobby moves in with Jonathan's parents.
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Petsounds on March 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
The friend who recommended this book to me called it "a perfect novel." I was skeptical, especially when I read the plot synopsis on the back cover--it sounded trendy and just 'way too 90s for me. But lucky for me, I trusted my friend, so I got to live for awhile in the wonderful world that Michael Cunningham has created.
First, the writing is simply magnificent; I don't think there's a weak or false sentence anywhere in the book. This is rare prose--lyrical and restrained. Second, I think that Cunningham knows every one of his characters inside out--he knows more than he tells us--because these people are utterly real and convincing. This book is packed with beautiful insights into the human condition, but they are completely embodied in the characters. Finally, the story is vividly and compellingly told--you'll stay with it to the satisfying end.
As to the controversy over the various voices, I agree with the previous reviewer.
My friend said this is a perfect novel. I agree. How often do you get to say that?
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By JCB VINE VOICE on June 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD introduced me to Michael Cunningham--someone who I now consider one of my favorite contemporary authors. He manages to write honestly about friendship, love, sexuality, and life; and even though the story is told in different voices, there's hardly a break in the narrative--the novel flows beautifully and keeps readers turning pages; Cunningham is a master of words. I found Jonathon's friendship with Bobby very compelling. In fact, the chapters in Part I of the novel are, I think, the best chapters; they reveal the innocence of youth between Jonathon and Bobby and captures their friendship so beautifully. I liked this book a lot because I found it easy to relate to many of the events and experiences in Jonathon and Bobby's life. It was like reading a mirror image of my own life. Novels that are able to draw up those memories and connections in readers are the best ones. One reading of this novel isn't enough; it's a novel to be read over and over again.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By S.G.R. Black on March 31, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For a person who hardly ever reads books due to the fact that I have very particular and specific tastes, I come to find that most books I do read are unsatisfying and dull. Shortly after watching the impressive, "The Hours", I was interested in the works of Michael Cunningham. No, I never read "The Hours". I love the film too much and I'm scared I won't like it. Moving on, I picked up "A Home at the End of the World" and began reading it. I found myself staying up late and filling my spare time with reading. By the end I felt something I hardly feel when it comes to reading most books; a strong emotional satisfaction.

The book is told by four people: Johnathan, Bobby, Claire, and Alice (Johnathan's mother). It spans through Johnathan and Bobby's childhood in the 60s through their adulthood in the 80s. Cunningham does a masterful job writing these charaters to the fullest. You'd swear you've seen and met these people before. The ideas of Love and Family are put to a test. Jealousy and Loss also make their way into a story so well written and constructed. It can make you laugh and yes, cry. Take the time and read this. Please.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert Elgie on July 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Towards the end of this wonderful novel, Alice, mother of one of the main characters, remarks that she stayed with her feckless husband for decades because she couldn't imagine a life without her plates stacked in the corner cupboard of her kitchen. It's the little daily things that trammel us, she means, that prevent our flying free.
What Michael Cunningham accomplishes in this book is to show how much of our lives falls into that gap between our dreams and our reality. And being the writer he is, he does this deftly and subtly. This, Cunningham's first novel (or his second, if you count "Golden States", which Cunningham apparently does not), has the insight that makes "The Hours" so brilliant but not yet that book's layered complexity.
It's a beautiful read, though. Some chapters take my breath away because I am so impressed by the truth of the interactions between the characters and by Cunningham's command of his language. The prose is not flashy; there are few clever images; there are no prose-poem descriptions. But when I reach the end of a chapter, I realize that I've been moved by the words without being aware of them. Writing like that only looks easy. It's very, very hard to do.
Each chapter is told in the voice one of the characters. My only quibble with the novel, then, is that, while the points of view are distinct, the voices are not much differentiated. So, it was Cunningham's first successful novel, and he was still learning. Big deal. "A Home at the End of the World" still stands out way ahead of most.
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