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

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  614 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham offers this evocative, quietly beautiful portrait of Provincetown -- a "spectacular" place at the tip of Cape Cod that is steeped in history -- as the first book in the Crown Journeys series.
Audio Cassette, 0 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Books On Tape (first published August 6th 2002)
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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
Laurel
This book was more about Michael Cunningham than it was about Provincetown.
Michael Armijo
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
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
Robert
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
...more
Alisea
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
...more
Paula Dembeck
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
...more
Pam
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
...more
Richard Jespers
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.
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
Connie
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.
Todd
The only contemporary guide to this whimsical town that keeps drawing me back. This is at once bio and travel guide.
P Bright
This was romanticized description of a very gay-friendly town.
Raquel
A love letter to Provincetown. Michael Cunningham leads us gently, whimsically, wistfully through what is clearly one of his favorite places on earth. It is one of my favorite places on earth as well. If you love P-Town, you will find yourself smiling and nodding and chuckling and feeling a pang in your heart as he details the people, places, and ways of life that make Provincetown unique. I found myself wanting to teleport there as I turned this book's pages. If you must be separated from it ph ...more
Amy Nash
Now I'm ready for my trip to P-Town in a week.
Amy
First, I didn't realize until I started the book that it's 10-years-old. That wouldn't matter in a novel, but this is more of a memoir/travel guide. Second, I wish I'd known about it before I'd been to Provincetown, which struck me as just a weird little touristy place at the end of Cape Cod, rather than the more magically quirky community Cunningham describes. Maybe P'town should have Cunningham take over its PR. Of course, they'd have to get him to tone down all the gay sex stuff, which was mo ...more
Syd
Anyone who has ever passionately loved a place should read this book. Although Cunningham writes about P-town, I easily could have replaced New Orleans and it would have perfectly described my feelings for my own city...Cunningham even calls it the "New Orleans of the North". Everyone who knows me knows that I have a special fondness for Cunningham and I have to confess that I have a burning desire to go to P-town and eat hotdogs with him on the 4th of July...although it is unlikely.
Jack Alexander
A wonderful read. Partly because I know the town and surroundings so well, but mostly for the style and prose he uses. Of walking out in the dunes in the evening, he takes me there where I can taste the salt in the air and hear and feel the not so far off surf pounding. Of the little down town shops and bakeries. Of the grocery and hardware stores and the people that you see year after year. For anyone who has a soft place in their heart for P-Town, I recommend this book.
Lynn
AUDIO BOOK REVIEW To do justice to Provincetown would require a tome. This is more like an ode but no less entertaining despite it's short length. If you love P-Town, you cannot help but smile through much of the prose in this "walk in Provincetown". It's all there - the beaches, the circus that is Commercial street, the bond the locals have, the beauty, the difficulties and the things that make those difficulties easier. It's a love song sung in just the right key.
Nan
I bought this book when Cunningham was in Denver many years ago. I wanted him to sign as many books as possible. I let it sit on my shelf far too long. Cunningham is a gorgeous writer. He paints the landscape he loves in rich colors and lavish sentences. As a travel book, this is perfect. It will please both the armchair traveler and the seasoned wanderer.

Crown published a series of literary travel books. I should start putting them on my wish list.
Audrey
I've just started to get interested in travel writing, and I love the concept here...having an author who is connected to an area to write a "travel book" about it. Cunningham does a great job with this one -- not only do you find out a lot more about Provincetown, but you also find out more about Cunningham himself, and about some important issues too. Beautifully written, as most of his work is, but without the darkness that I've come to associate with his books.
Terry
I purchased this book at the Now Voyager Bookstore in Provincetown, MA. Then read it while on Cape Cod. A really great book for those of you interested in Cape Cod. Cunningham is a fabulous writer not matter what; how great to actually be in the spot he was writing about? It gives great history about the location; plus some insight into the author’s life. Not sure if I would have rated this so high had I not been on Cape Cod while reading it.
Janice Nelson
A beautiful little book about one of the most beautiful places, Provincetown, MA. We love it there. My husband, daughter and I love to bike there and look for seaglass on the beautiful beaches, especially Race Point. The town is wonderful as well with an eclectic group of people wandering the streets. The Patio is a favorite place to have a bite to eat. It is well worth the ride to the tip of the Cape.
Rachel
Sep 20, 2007 Rachel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, esp. travellers and East Coasters
Michael Cunningham's ruminations on the much-beloved P-town make for a good book to have around and read just a little at a time. It's a good mood-setting book. This book feels like getting introduced to a person, in the way that I wish I were introduced to people much more often - taking my time, getting to know them intimately and lightly and comfortingly. Except in this book, that person is a place.
Debi
Basically, this is my new "Summer" read. I have a "Fall" read, that I read each Fall, which I will be writing about ... you got it... this Fall!

After I figure out how to configure all of my good reads with Wordpress, I will come back and review this book right and proper!

Have some patience with this sh*t. I'm still in testing mode, and learning more every minute!
Katie Hall
I really enjoyed this book. Clearly Provincetown means a lot to Michael Cunningham, and this little book is really like his love letter to the place. We visited Provincetown briefly when we vacationed on Cape Cod a few years ago, but now I wish I had spent a little more time there. The crowds, narrow streets, and lack of parking scared us off to quieter locales.
Ed
If you love to really know a place, this is personal and rich, similar vibe to Mark Doty and Mary Oliver. After finishing, I realized this is part of a series in which writers of note describe favorite places: Chuck Palahniuk's Fugitives and Refugees, about Portland, and Bill McKibben's Wandering Home, about the space between the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains.
Kirsten Bloomberg Feldman
Beautifully evocative, charming, and elegiac, Michael Cunningham's writing paints the mirage that is Provincetown before our eyes, knowing that it may well be different by the time we turn the page. The sands shift, change is constant, and I was so sad to arrive at the last line. Luckily, I can go back, both to Provincetown and to this short, lovely book.
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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)
  • Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon
  • 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
  • Time and Tide: A Walk Through Nantucket
  • Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago
  • Time's Magpie: A Walk in Prague
The Hours A Home at the End of the World By Nightfall Specimen Days Flesh And Blood

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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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