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Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown (Crown Journeys Series)

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  725 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
"Cunningham's short book is a haunting, beautiful piece of work. . . . A magnificent work of art." -The Washington Post

"Easily read on a plane-and-ferry journey from here to the sandy, tide-washed tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Land's End is that most perfect of companions: slender, eloquent, enriching, and fun. . . . A casually lovely ode to Provincetown." -The Minneapol
Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Picador (first published August 6th 2002)
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Aug 20, 2015 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2015
Cape Cod is on the North West fringe of America, and Provincetown is on the very edge of Cape Cod. This isolation means it is a place which has attracted those on the periphery of American society too; artists and writers have made their homes here, and hosts a large gay and lesbian community too.

The walk takes us around the town, down the two main streets, across the marshes and dunes, for a brief dip in the bay and then onto the beaches. With him we visit some of the bars and clubs, drops into
Pudds Downing
This book could have been wonderful. I love the poetry, the beauty of Michael Cunningham's writing. But the old nursery rhyme line, paraphrased, could apply here. "When he is good he is very, very good but when he is bad he is horrid." WhenI bought this book I really was not looking for a detailed description of the life of a promiscuous homosexual in Provincetown. Yuck, yuck and more yuck. Frankly, I don't care if you're gay, straight, bi or alien. I don't want to read about where, when, how or ...more
Jul 29, 2010 Laurel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was more about Michael Cunningham than it was about Provincetown.
Michael Armijo
Nov 02, 2010 Michael Armijo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is clearly the pressure of a renowned author being pressured to come out with another book quickly. It's like reading excerpts from his personal journal that have been thrown together. It starts out adjectively (and continues that way) with one getting to know the feeling of Provincetown. I have never been there and would like to go one day, but if I wanted a GUIDEBOOK of P-Town it would be more suitable. Then, as you read on you get glimpses of how the author met his boyfriend in P-Town an ...more
Tessa Campbell
This book will inspire anyone to take a trip to Provincetown, Massachussetts. Cunningham (also author of The Hours) takes readers by the hand and leads them on a magical tour of this quaint little beach town at the tip of Cape Cod. Provincetown has a rich history and has become a popular summer vacation destination worldwide, known for its arts, beaches, shopping and gourmet restaurants. It has a large gay community and hosts a wide array of people: tourists, writers, families, gay couples hand- ...more
Aug 15, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great travelogue - sociological study hybrid. Quick read but it will literally make you rent a car and drive to the tip of Cape Cod within two weeks.
(Plus, odds are great that you'll see Michael somewhere on Commercial or at Mussel Beach.)
Jun 23, 2015 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Cunningham's tribute to Provincetown, more an essay than a book, contains the same beautiful writing found in his novels The Hours and Home at the End of the World. This piece of writing could be used as a tool to teach students how to write similes and metaphors beautifully.

Cunningham first went to Provincetown after receiving a fellowship to write there from October to May. No sooner had he arrived when the summer population headed home and the chilly weather of the fall and winter set
Aug 22, 2014 Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only contemporary guide to this whimsical town that keeps drawing me back. This is at once bio and travel guide.
MrsGeary Geary
Apr 19, 2016 MrsGeary Geary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book while staying in Provincetown and I absolutely loved it. It was better than any tour guide and was a treat for all my senses and sensibilities. Cunningham captures all the angles of the prism that is Provincetown: the light, the air, the art, the sand, the drag, the party, the ocean, the history, the sex, the freedom, the community, the refuge, the sadness, the joy. While he has a magical, evocative description of whales, he also writes of foxes (not the silver ones), opossums a ...more
Evanston Public  Library
Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Cunningham (The Hours) tries his hand at travel writing in this brief exploration of Provincetown, Massachusetts. What makes this book different from most travel guides is that Cunningham has actually spent a great deal of time living in the place he’s chosen to write about, thereby allowing him to give an insider’s view of the town. Located, literally in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, perched at the outer tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is one of the oldes ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, places
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kyle  Tresnan
I'm always surprised when it turns out I actually like these kinds of books.

Land's End isn't like most of the other books I read for my Cape Cod Adventure Literature class in that it's not about walking through wildernesses or living on a beach and watching birds. Land's End is about a city. It's about a city, and Micheal Cunningham gives Provincetown a lot of character. He loves Provincetown; he fell in love in Provincetown. It helps, I think, that I read most of this book after having been to
Nov 03, 2013 Alisea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Provincetown è una cittadina che sorge all'estremità di Cape Cod, nel Massachussetts, una lunga e incantata striscia di sabbia sulla East Coast degli Stati Uniti. Dopo avervi trascorso un solitario inverno, quando a ventotto anni si era imbarcato nella faticosa stesura di un romanzo, Michael Cunningham è tornato a Provincetown ogni anno, a trascorrervi le sue vacanze.
Niente da fare: con questo autore (premiato anche con il Pulitzer per Le ore) non è scattata la scintilla.
Scrive benissimo, ma ho
Paula Dembeck
Jun 12, 2013 Paula Dembeck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great little book about this interesting town through the eyes of one of its residents. This intriguing town is a place of history and art, but also a refuge for those who need to seek refuge or escape.

The book is basically a walking tour of Provincetown, one of America’s older towns which is perched on the sandy tip at the end of Cape Cod. Eccentric and physically remote, the town has been intriguingly amenable to outsiders since it existed. Those who live unconventionally seem to outnumber t
Jun 11, 2012 Pam rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although this book started & finished with a very descriptive walk-about in Provincetown_there were parts that were not agreeable to me.Yes,it was descriptive_too much so regarding SEX,having too much,where to find it,his sex life,other's sex life,sporting gentleman,who's doing whom,etc.The worst was a play by play of how he and other friends washed the corpse of a friend in the hospital_descriptive indeed,down to the color of his friend's genitalia!Really!

I purchased the book to bring back
I picked this up because we would be visiting this town soon on vacation. I knew in advance that this town was gay-friendly so I wasn't surprised by the fact that the author is gay nor how it is a topic of discussion in the book. I was surprised by how far some of his descriptions went. They were entirely out of place in what was an otherwise delightful amazing book about the history, geography and culture of this Cape Cod town.
Brenda Gadd
Jun 06, 2015 Brenda Gadd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not your usual ho-hum travel guide. Provincetown is not only a crescent of sand. It is a community. That is what I loved the most. Poems interspersed with good information. To a straight tourist, you kind of learn where not to take young kids at certain times. On the other hand, you realize that certain places along the beach are burial places. Tread with respect. I really enjoyed this inner look at Provincetown.
George Seaton
An odd little book. Or, I found it odd after reading "The Hours," "By Nightfall," and "The Snow Queen." Yes, "Land's End..." wasn't fiction. But still.

I love Provincetown, know its history, and about the only thing I found useful in this work was that Cunningham mentions portions of the place I've never explored. Sure, that would be enough if this weren't Cunningham. I guess I was expecting more brilliance...
Richard Jespers
Nov 19, 2014 Richard Jespers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always, the hallmark of a Michael C. book is his flawless prose. The right word at the right place with the proper weight, the finest nuance. And more important, not as if it were a jewel of its own to be admired but as part of everything else he has to say. I would like to visit Provincetown based entirely on what he has to say, the history, the geography, the quiet of beautiful winters.
John Treat
A smoothly written account of a gay man's Provincetown, but always from the p.o.v. of a New Yorker: the sense of being from a Big Place in a Small Place is ever-present, and renders whatever Cape Cod-ish charm the author wishes to convey into a portrait of what Manhattan, for better or worse, both has and has not. Could have been Paris or San Francisco, and the effect might be the same.
Jun 01, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
#WeNeedDiverseBooks #QueerAuthors

Here are 25 queer authors you need to be reading ... that is, if you aren't already!

You've probably heard of Michael Cunningham's novel The Hours, which was based off of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway (and made into a movie). But I love his 1990 novel, A Home at the End of the World, which centers on an alternative family: a gay man and his best friend plan to have a baby together, and end up letting an old college friend join in.

Rona  Avenido
One may write such things, such as home, in a way Cunningham did for Provincetown. It is a lyrical prose for the love of a place that accepted you when you needed to be accepted, loved you in your worst and hyped you up in your biggest victories.

A travel, bio and memoir all in one.
Jan 31, 2016 Maltoablativ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this little book from start to finish. I have never been in Provincetown and probably never will be. In every chapter, every bit and piece Cunningham offers, he unravels the beauty and the mysteries of this small town at Cape Cod. I read every page with highest delight.
Connie Curtis
This book could have been something good if he had not focused so much on his gay sex life and that genre. I wanted to hear about the place, not the sex lives of the gay community that is apparently in numbers there. I couldn't finish it.
I read it thinking I didn't really like it but I did it anyway. Not so much of "a walk" as a set of memories of a place the author loves.
Ian Hefele
Sep 27, 2015 Ian Hefele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I just have to move there. fun read, got a little queeny at times but liked how is love for Provincetown came through
John Bateman
One visit to Provincetown and you'll agree with Land's End. Great train read that includes published works of other authors.
P Bright
Mar 28, 2015 P Bright rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was romanticized description of a very gay-friendly town.
Mar 20, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read. A little dated but historically interesting.
Stephen Soucy
Feb 05, 2016 Stephen Soucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this book and love seeing MC in Provincetown.
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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 & Pulitzer Prize), Specimen Days, and By Nightfall, as well as the non-fiction book, Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown. His new novel, The Snow Queen, will be published in May of 2014. He lives in New York, and teaches at Yale University.
More about Michael Cunningham...

Other Books in the Series

Crown Journeys Series (1 - 10 of 15 books)
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  • After the Dance: A Walk Through Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti
  • City of the Soul: A Walk in Rome
  • Washington Schlepped Here: Walking in the Nation's Capital
  • Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg
  • Blues City: A Walk in Oakland
  • Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park
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  • Time's Magpie: A Walk in Prague

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“Martha’s Vineyard had fossil deposits one million centuries old. The northern reach of Cape Cod, however, on which my house sat, the land I inhabited—that long curving spit of shrub and dune that curves in upon itself in a spiral at the tip of the Cape—had only been formed by wind and sea over the last ten thousand years. That cannot amount to more than a night of geological time. Perhaps this is why Provincetown is so beautiful. Conceived at night (for one would swear it was created in the course of one dark storm) its sand flats still glistened in the dawn with the moist primeval innocence of land exposing itself to the sun for the first time. Decade after decade, artists came to paint the light of Provincetown, and comparisons were made to the lagoons of Venice and the marshes of Holland, but then the summer ended and most of the painters left, and the long dingy undergarment of the gray New England winter, gray as the spirit of my mood, came down to visit. One remembered then that the land was only ten thousand years old, and one’s ghosts had no roots. We did not have old Martha’s Vineyard’s fossil remains to subdue each spirit, no, there was nothing to domicile our specters who careened with the wind down the two long streets of our town which curved together around the bay like two spinsters on their promenade to church.   NORMAN MAILER, from Tough Guys Don’t Dance” 0 likes
“from Labor Day through Halloween, the place is almost unbearably beautiful. The air during these weeks seems less like ether and more like a semisolid, clear and yet dense somehow, as if it were filled with the finest imaginable golden pollen. The sky tends toward brilliant ice-blue, and every thing and being is invested with a soft, gold-ish glow. Tin cans look good in this light; discarded shopping bags do. I’m not poet enough to tell you what the salt marsh looks like at high tide. I confess that when I lived year-round in Provincetown, I tended to become irritable toward the end of October, when one supernal day after another seemed to imply that the only reasonable human act was to abandon your foolish errands and plans, go outside, and fall to your knees.” 0 likes
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