Wednesday, November 17, 2010

147 - By Nightfall; Michael Cunningham















By Nightfall, tells the story of Peter and Rebecca Harris, a middle-age Manhattan couple, married twenty-one years, living a comfortable life in an upscale SoHo loft. The couple has a strained relationship with their only child, a daughter, who has dropped out of college, and works as a bartender. Early on the reader knows that an unexpected guest,who is coming for a visit is going to cause chaos for the Harris family. In this case, it is Rebecca's much younger brother Ethan Taylor, known as Mizzy for "mistake", who will be staying for a while at the couple's home. In fact, the first two sentences of this book give you the head's up -- trouble is coming "The Mistake is coming to stay for a while. Are you mad about Mizzy? Rebecca says."

Mizzy is some twenty years younger than Rebecca, and has lost his way in life. He's smart, yet he left Yale without a degree, he has been to drug rehab, traveled to Japan and spent time meditating with monks while he was there, and now he is hoping to get involved in the arts. He's good looking, has had numerous flings with both males and females, and now he just needs to feel the right connection to find some meaning in his somewhat empty life.

The story itself is more about Peter, a successful NYC art gallery owner. Peter is a man who knows what he wants, at least in art, and goes after it. He is also a man who is in the midst of a mid-life crisis. In many ways the free-spirited Mizzy reminds Peter of the things he loved most about his wife when they first met. Peter is also surprised that Mizzy has stirred feelings of a sexual nature in him, and for the remainder of the story Peter becomes somewhat infatuated with his uninhibited brother-in-law Mizzy.

Cunningham has created an intricate and addictive story that has the reader anxiously wanting to find out more. The story is told in the third person, as Peter sees things. It's one man's look at life: where he's been, what he's done, and what is left. The audio book was enjoyable and was read by Hugh Dancy. Although this story is a bit different from some of Cunningham's earlier books: The HoursA Home at the End of the World; and Specimen Days, I think fans of this author will be happy they took the time to read this one. RECOMMENDED

RATING - 4/5 stars
Review Book

29 comments:

  1. I just love that cover for some reason, so I'm excited to see the book is so good!

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  2. I am quite a fan of Michael Cunningham having read The hours, Flesh and Blood and Home at the End of the World. He is a powerful writer and sadly I have not picked up his last few novels. Great review.

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  3. I LOVED this book, although I agree it's different than Cunningham's other books there are similarities in particular that it's also brilliant.

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  4. I'm always looking for good audiobooks and this one sounds really interesting. I'll have to check it out.

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  5. I have been hearing a lot of good things about this book, and the fact that the husband becomes attracted to his brother-in-law really has me intrigued. I am going to have to check this book out. It sounds fantastic! Thanks for the excellent review on it!

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  6. I'll have to check this author out, thanks for mentioning him.

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  7. Glad you liked this one! I enjoyed A Home at the End of the World but never read The Hours. I picked up a copy at BEA, but I haven't made time to read this one and have been surprised how little I've read about it.

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  8. Cunningham is coming to Brussels to present this book and I’ve already reserved a seat. I’ll have to buy it before hand so that he can sign it.

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  9. I loved The Hours... I'll be sending this title to my library as a recommendation for buying - thanks!!

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  10. Hi!
    The link for the reading challenge Books to Read Before I Die isn't working so I'm putting my review here. The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom.

    Sherrie
    Just Books
    http://sherriesbooks.blogspot.com/2010/11/review-five-people-you-meet-in-heaven.html

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  11. I love the cover of this book-very interesting and different!

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  12. With a nickname like Mizzy, short for Mistake...not surprised that the poor guy has ended up living up to it...! Definitely one to keep on my radar to pick up!

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  13. I have never read this author's books. But, to be honest this book doesn't sound like my cup of tea. However, I am glad you enjoyed it.

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  14. Nice review. I enjoyed this one as well.

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  15. Excellent review, Diane. I am not familiar with this book or author.

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  16. I can't resist a book with a character named Mizzy!

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  17. Sounds good!

    Miss you already, Diane!
    Sharon

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  18. I really loved The Hours but haven't read anything else by Cunningham, possibly because I'm afraid nothing else will live up! I'm happy to hear this one is good on audio.

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  19. This does sound very different than The Hours. Still I would like to read more by Cunningham.

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  20. Well, I definitely think this is an interesting plot. Wow. I have not read anything by him, which I must.

    Great review.

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  21. I'm a fan of Cunningham's writing and have been wondering about this one. Thanks for reminding me to consider the audio version.

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  22. I honestly did not enjoy The Hours that much, but this one appeals to me. Thanks for the review; I might not have picked it up without your thoughts :)

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  23. I haven't read any of this author's work but I have been curious. I really like the premise of this one and will have to give it a try. Thanks for another wonderful review, Diane.

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  24. Sounds like it has some interesting dynamics going on.

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  25. Oh, I have yet to read this author.

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  26. Yep...I need to read this one!!

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