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Specimen Days
Specimen Days: A Novel | Michael Cunningham
6 posts | 10 read | 9 to read
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.
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review
TheCuriousHousecat
Specimen Days: A Novel | Michael Cunningham
Panpan

I did not like this book. And I‘m disappointed. This is the second book I‘ve read by this author and the first one “A home at the end of the world” was brilliant. Such a shame. Anyway a ⭐️ for trying.

BarbaraBB I have that same feeling about him and this book. But I loved 2mo
7 likes1 comment
blurb
Karisa
Specimen Days: A Novel | Michael Cunningham
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So these characters keep coming back through different times and places. Sometimes they are factory workers, sometimes androids.

But it all works beautifully with Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

TobeyTheScavengerMonk I loved this book! 3mo
41 likes1 stack add1 comment
blurb
nnnnnathan
Specimen Days: A Novel | Michael Cunningham

I bought this book when it was first published and never made it past the first 20 pages. For some reason, though, it survives multiple purges, including one inspired by Maria Kondo.

Halfway though now and I find myself reading it as a meditation on life and individuality. Guess I was finally ready for it.

review
Moray_Reads
Specimen Days: A Novel | Michael Cunningham
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Pickpick

A strange genre-bending book that takes you on a surreal ride through three (sort of) linked (kind of) novellas, skipping from historical to crime-thriller to sci-fi. The first two were incredible and the Children's Crusade was chilling. The third seemed a step too far, less compelling, a little too clichéd but the final pages were heartbreaking. Not my favourite Cunningham but his prose is as lyrical and wonderful as ever

Moray_Reads NB This is the second eerie, unsettling book I've read recently that has incorporated Walt Whitman and his poetry, the first being 2y
shawnmooney I never got around to reading this and probably never will - but glad you mostly enjoyed it. Cunningham was my favorite writer when I was in my 20s and 30s but what little I've read of his recently hasn't really worked for me. 2y
Moray_Reads @shawnmooney it's definitely not his best buy the bits that were good were brilliant. I've only read the Hours and the Snow Queen so far, do you have a favourite you'd recommend? 2y
See All 8 Comments
saresmoore Weird! Time to brush up on Whitman?? 2y
Moray_Reads @saresmoore I feel like I don't need to now! (I've never read Whitman in my life, he's not really a feature of the English school curriculum) 2y
vivastory Excellent review. I've been wanting to read more Cunningham ever since I read his wonderful 2y
Moray_Reads @vivastory I haven't read that one but I will happily make it my fourth Cunningham of 2017. He's a wonderful writer 2y
vivastory @Moray_Reads It's a really short read, but I think it says a lot about the quality that I still remember it so fondly a year later. 2y
47 likes3 stack adds8 comments
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Moray_Reads
Specimen Days: A Novel | Michael Cunningham
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batsy Oh yes, those guys. 2y
37 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
Read66
Specimen Days: A Novel | Michael Cunningham
Pickpick

This book has been on my shelf for a long time and I am so grateful to have finally taken the plunge and read it. Beautifully written novellas - 3 of them united by all being set in New York. One story is in the past, one the present and one in the future. Almost impossible to pick my favourite....although if I have to pick it would be "Like Beauty" the story set 150 years in the future.