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Book Description: In each section of Michael Cunningham's bold new novel, his first since The Hours, we encounter the same group of characters: a young boy, an older man, and a young woman. "In the Machine" is a ghost story that takes place at the height of the industrial revolution, as human beings confront the alienating realities of the new machine age. "The Children's Crusade," set in the early twenty-first century, plays with the conventions of the noir thriller as it tracks the pursuit of a terrorist band that is detonating bombs, seemingly at random, around the city. The third part, "Like Beauty," evokes a New York 150 years into the future, when the city is all but overwhelmed by refugees from the first inhabited planet to be contacted by the people of Earth.
Presiding over each episode of this interrelated whole is the prophetic figure of the poet Walt Whitman, who promised his future readers, "It avails not, neither time or place ... I am with you, and know how it is." Specimen Days is a genre-bending, haunting, and transformative ode to life in our greatest city and a meditation on the direction and meaning of America's destiny. It is a work of surpassing power and beauty by one of the most original and daring writers at work today.
|More from Michael Cunningham|
A Home at the End of the World
Flesh and Blood
The Portable Walt Whitman
Specimen Days & Collect
Walt Whitman: Poetry and Prose
If you wanna read one of the most interesting books of the year, look no further.
The fifth character is Walt Whitman who provides yet another link between the stories as well as the title of the book.
While I understand his concern, this novel seems a bit too much like his third novel, The Hours, to me at least.
I'm a particular fan of novellas; these three are really sweet. Not quite as complex as Cloud Atlas, but it reminded me of it a lot.Published 9 months ago by jlmcmillan
This was actually a really thought-provoking book. Truly interesting with many different ideas. I think that this is a book that will continue to cross my mind for years.Published 16 months ago by Spargle
Very interesting novel. First time reader of this authors work and he is very good. Love the constant references to Whitman..Published on July 14, 2012 by benjamin washington
Book Review for Michael Cunningham's Specimen Days
There are several books today that we are required to read in school, including The Crucible, Atlas Shrugged, Ethan... Read more
The original Specimen Days is an essay collection by Walt Whitman in which he reflects on wounded and dying soldiers, among other things, during the Civil War. Read morePublished on March 19, 2012 by Patti
Three stories, using the same three characters, at three different moments in time / history: past (NYC, early 20th century); present; dystopian future. Read morePublished on February 26, 2012 by Rose Oatley
I love Michael Cunningham, and this book (three distinct stories) is amazingly well written and is great for the overall story-telling that occurs throughout each piece.Published on August 2, 2011 by D. Demoin
I ADORE MC writings....so as soon as a book(before KINDLE) comes out, I am on line / online cause it's a journey you take with him. Read morePublished on July 11, 2011 by Anthony cruz