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A Home at the End of the World: A Novel Paperback – November 15, 1998
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“Lyrical . . . Memorable and accomplished.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“Novels don't come more deeply felt than Cunningham's extraordinary four-character study . . . The writing [is] a constant pleasure, flowing and yet dense with incisive images and psychological nuance.” ―Matthew Gilbert, The Boston Globe
“The story of Jonathan, Clare, Bobby, and Alice is also the story of the 70's and 80's in America--and vice versa. It is destined to last.” ―David Leavitt, author of The Marble Quilt
“Cunningham has written a novel that all but reads itself.” ―The Washington Post Book World
“Once in a great while, there appears a novel so spellbinding in its beauty and sensitivity that the reader devours it nearly whole, in great greedy gulps, and feels stretched sore afterwards, having been expanded and filled. Such a book is [this one].” ―Sherry Rosenthal, San Diego Tribune
“Luminous with the wonders and anxieties that make childhood mysterious . . . A Home at the End of the World is a remarkable accomplishment.” ―Laura Frost, San Francisco Review
“Brilliant and satisfying . . . As good as anything I've read in years . . . Hope in the midst of tragedy is a fragile thing, and Cunningham carries it with masterful care.” ―Gayle Kidder, San Diego Union
“Exquisitely written . . . Lyrical . . . An important book.” ―Charleston Sunday News and Courier
“Cunningham writes with power and delicacy . . . We come to feel that we know Jonathan, Bobby, and Clare as if we lived with them; yet each one retains the mystery that in people is called soul, and in fiction is called art.” ―Richard Eder, The Los Angeles Times
From the Publisher
Praise for A Home at the End of the World:
"Lyrical...memorable and accomplished." --The New York Times Book Review
"Novels don't come more deeply felt than Michael Cunningham's extraordinary four-character study... The writing...is a constant pleasure, flowing and yet dense with incisive images and psychological nuance." --Matthew Gilbert, The Boston Globe
"Cunningham writes with power and delicacy.... We come to feel that we know Jonathan, Bobby, and Clare as if we lived with them; yet each one retains the mystery that in people is called soul, and in fiction is called art." --Richard Eder, The Los Angeles Times
"Once in a great while, there appears a novel so spellbinding in its beauty and sensitivity that the reader devours it nearly whole, in great greedy gulps, and feels stretched sore afterwards, having been expanded and filled. Such a book is Michael Cunningham's A Home at the End of the World." --Sherry Rosenthal, San Diego Tribune
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What about plot and character? The novel definitely has a viable plot, even though it meanders somewhat aimlessly over several decades and multiple destinations. The ending seems true to the plot, i.e., you don't really know where the characters are going, which sums up the book nicely. Meanwhile, the individual character development is fine. The reader gets to know what the main characters are doing, although not necessarily why or what their activities and choices add up to. Once again, that's no doubt what the author wants to convey. The venues, as depicted by the author, are all dreary - Cleveland, Arizona, New York. Not exactly Reagan's shining city on a hill. But that fits in well with what the author seems to be saying about life.
I lived through the decades depicted, and it more or less shocks me to think I might have been like either Jonathan or Bobby. Not that they were evil, or even nonentities, or that my own life has been an uninterrupted series of highs, but their lives seemed so humdrum and unfocused.