A Home at the End of the World: A Novel
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A Home at the End of the World: A Novel

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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  10,821 ratings  ·  589 reviews
From Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours, comes this widely praised novel of two boyhood friends: Jonathan, lonely, introspective, and unsure of himself; and Bobby, hip, dark, and inarticulate. In New York after college, Bobby moves in with Jonathan and his roommate, Clare, a veteran of the city's erotic wars. Bobby and Clare fall in love, sc...more
ebook, 344 pages
Published August 24th 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1990)
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Lee
This book was my introduction to Michael Cunningham, and when I finished it I cried. And then went out and bought everything he'd ever written.

I fell in love with this book. At that time in my life I could relate to its characters and their story in a unique way, but it was also Cunningham's writing: spare, lovely, gorgeously aware of minutiae, devastatingly honest. There is a sadness in his work that fills me with a profound loneliness that I find myself both overwhelmed by and grateful for.

"A...more
Punk
Fiction. This is the story of Bobby and Jonathan -- best friends, almost brothers, almost in love -- how they grow up together, how they grow apart, how they meet Clare, and how they all try to make a home together. It sounds cozy -- I love self-made families -- but this is an exceedingly lonely book. No one's able to make any lasting connections and everyone's alone in one way or another. It's sad, but written so well. Cunningham has an easy way with language; his prose is simple and honest, wi...more
kimberly
"You don't necessarily meet a lot of people in this world."

This is the first of Michael Cunningham's books I've read, but I will be reading all of them. He just flat gets it. By the time I was halfway through, I more or less disliked two of the three main characters, but I wasn't tired of reading about them. I wanted to figure them out. I wanted to like them and if I didn't, I wanted to understand why.

This is one of those books that you read a sentence or a paragraph or a scene and it hits you...more
Taylor K.
I only sort of liked this, so I honestly don't have too much to say about it. It wasn't remarkable, but it wasn't awful.

It basically follows a set of three friends - one women, two men - and examines their relationships, both with each other, and with people from the outside world (mothers, fathers, girlfriends, boyfriends).

It reads almost a little blandly. I suppose you could say it's more of a character study and less about the plot. But then I couldn't say that it was very successful, because...more
Juushika
The story of a relationship between two childhood friends and a woman who enters their lives in adulthood, A Home at the End of the World is difficult to summarize because its plot is wide, rambling, and only half the point. Meandering from the childhood deaths that leave Bobby bereft, distant, and desperate for connection, to Jonathan's burgeoning sexuality and his fixation on Bobby, to the entrance of world-weary Clare and the fragile three-way relationship that forms on the basis of the share...more
Fabian
This is the "Less than Zero"-like novel of this popular NY writer, and just like Bret Easton Ellis' depiction of the derelict children of sunny Cali in the 80s, Cunningham encapsulates the latter 80s in the East Village (and early 60s, 70s in the stark midwest) with lost souls, unique individuals.

The plot is this: Two guys and a gal play house together because they are (equally?) in love.

Obviously there is more to it as it differs somewhat from the pretty damn good movie with an additional chara...more
Amy
I wish we could do half stars -- I would like to give this book 2.5 stars to rate it a C.

I really wanted to like it more than I did; however, I felt there was not enough internal distinction among the characters to make the shifting viewpoints work. Each person's narrative voice sounded like all the others, resulting in homogenous characters that did not seem sufficiently fleshed out.
Giedre
"A Home at the End of the World" was my first Cunningham's book and I can already say that it's not going to be the last one.

The book is evolving slowly, and my reading was slowed down even more, because I was traveling while I was reading it. I am glad about it, as it seemed to require time to think it over and digest it.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about "A Home at the End of the World" is that it is an awkward book. It is awkward, because it is too real, too intimate, too...more
Tancredi
Se dovessi definire questo romanzo con una sola parola, userei inevitabilmente il termine "strano".
Strani sono i personaggi, tanto per cominciare: due gay poco convinti ed una donna divorziata che accetta un manage a trois con loro. Strana è la vicenda, strani sono i ragionamenti dei personaggi, con il loro contraddirsi continuamente, partire, fuggire, tornare, fuggire di nuovo. E strana è la via che scelgono, tutti e tre, per il loro futuro. Strani sono agli occhi della gente "normale", perché...more
Isaac
I loved the style of writing in this book, but I struggled to warm to the characters. Perhaps if I'd bought the edition with Colin Farrell on the cover, I may have been more enamoured.

I mean, I get that Bobby was supposed to be devastatingly ordinary, and as a middle aged guy with a paunch of my own, I can sympathize with the dude, but I got a little tired of having his supposed physical flaws shoved down my throat.

Also, Clare was a bitch.

But what is the mark of a good book if it's not one that...more
Lavinia
I love New York stories, I love the '80s. The plot is captivating, and for someone coming from Eastern Europe, such a story taking place while they grew up, - in a different part of the world, of course - seems pretty unbelievable.
lucy by the sea
I really fucking liked this. It has lots of my favorite things in a novel: New York, suburban malaise, love, the 80s, parenting. It is the story of two boys and their families. It follows them into their adulthood where they meet the third character, Clare, and fall in love with her. The chapters are narrated by a different character, which can be annoying. I think Cunningham pulls it off. Each time a chapter started I would think 'oh good this character is really my favorite'. I loved Alice's c...more
Nathan Burgoine
I listened to most of this on our way to Orangeville to put my father's ashes into a cubby-thing (tm), and most of the ride back. The fact that the gay character has to decide what to do with his father's ashes was a bit of an ironic twist to our selection, but otherwise, this was what I'd call a character study novel, in that the plot itself doesn't really go anywhere.

Basically, you follow the lives of four people, Jonathan (the gay fellow), his mother Alison (a New Orleans girl who married a...more
Onka
What I like about Michael Cunningham's books is that they are so different. Even though they deal with the same or at least similar themes each book is a unique read.
A Home at the End of the World is sometimes disgusting but beautiful story about love, friendship and looking for a place to belong. Throughout the story we follow lives of our four main characters. Each of them has a unique set of issues that he or she tries to overcome.
It's hard to write about this book and not spoil anything so I...more
Paula
This book was very personal for me. Not in terms of the characters so much, but more in terms of what was going on in my life and where I was with myself. I can close my eyes and feel how vulnerable and hurt I was at that time. I think that's why this book touched such a unique and special spot in my heart. I will never forget reading it and sharing my thoughts on it with someone very special to me. I have moved so far from where I was at that time, but I will never forget this book and how it m...more
Adam
This is the story of four people who call themselves family, set in late 1970-early 1980 Cleveland, NYC, and Phoenix.
Bobby, childhood friends with Jonathan, has lost his immediate family -- brother, mother, and father within a very short time.
Jonathan, emotionally detached and searching for that "click" into the present...
Alice, Jonathan's mother, married and started a family for the simple fact that there really was no reason not to.
And Clare, hippie wanna-be Woodstock goer, failed in an earli...more
Pulkit
I am all for deep feelings. Feelings of hopelessness, sadness. They are painful, but the beauty they bring with themselves makes them worth seeking at times. I am always on constant lookout for depressing movies and books and one such quest lead me to watch The Hours about two years ago, and then about half a dozen times more after that. Its poignant beauty haunts you well after the movie ends. The background music is too heartbreaking for words. Whenever I'm sad, I listen to the Hours' soundtr...more
Trisha
Such a thoroughly unsentimental book about what love is really all about – especially how much it can hurt. The story unfolds in the voices of the most important characters and moves back and forth among them giving us glimpses into why they behave the way they do as well as how they view each other. Two of them, Bobby and Jonathan, have grown up together needing to depend on each other to deal with the residue of circumstances that have left them wounded and vulnerable. By the time they reach y...more
JSA Lowe
This was much better than I expected, given my loathing of The Hours--kind of like Cunningham's Mysteries of Pittsburgh. It was handy during two nights of bad insomnia and I rather doubt I'll ever read it again. But some evocative descriptions. Particularly, and unexpectedly, of Arizona:
"I'm glad you came home for a little while," my father said. "You're looking a little pale, if you want to know the truth."

"Everyone in New York is pale this time of year," I said. "Maybe I'll move to Arizona."

"W
...more
Joy H.
_A Home at the End of the World_ (1990) by Michael Cunningham
Added 4/6/08.

4/29/11 (adding comments)
I remember liking this book and appreciating Cunningham's style of writing. In fact, because I liked this book, I went on to read Cunningham's book, The Hours (1998), which won the Pulitzer prize in 1999 and which was adapted to film in 2002.)

I just realized that a movie was adapted from this book as well:
"A Home at the End of the World" (2004):
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0359423/
http://movies.net...more
Steven
What I loved most about this book was that just when it seemed like it was going to drown you in a deep blue sadness, it allowed you to breathe; there was a certain tension and restraint in the writing that added to the emotional impact of this very moving story. The theme of human beings searching for a fulfilling sense of home was perfectly rendered throughout the book. The character portrayals,in particular, were strong as noone was "perfect" or saintly or even close to it; every character wa...more
Ed
One of my favorite movies from the new millennium has been the 2002 film The Hours starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris, Allison Janney and John C. Reilly. While I have not as yet read the 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Michael Cunningham upon which it was based I have seen the film twice and loved it both times. In the event that you have neither read the book nor seen the movie the plot centers around three different stories each taking place in a different era...more
Donna
This is a beautifully written book in which the three main characters are all looking for a place to call home, even as they leave their homes behind them. Some of them are running away from something, while some of them are running toward something.

The story is told from four different viewpoints which alternate throughout much of the book. There is Bobby, lonely and adrift after losing his family bit by bit. He is guilt-ridden and trapped in the past, articulate only within his own mind. He fi...more
Alex Stan
A Home at the End of the World is a nostalgic piece about friendship and the different forms that love can take. While some might find it a bit dull at times, I think that this is a clever technique of Cunnigham's to make his novel more personal and intimate.
I couldn't let go of this book even when I was away from it. It spoke to me on many levels.
I rooted for the characters, they were real to me and empathizing with them came naturally. Also, Cunningham masterfully changes settings from Clevel...more
Madeline
Well - there are a couple of really good lines in this book, but they are almost invariably followed by something truly horrible and trite, expanding upon the theme and beating it into your head. So the prose is overwritten and labored (and sometimes mannered and affected), but as a reader of Victorian literature, I could probably forgive that - Hardy has committed greater sins, and I have read and enjoyed those sins as committed by by lesser writers than Hardy - but the problem with A Home at t...more
Justin
For me, this book was a case of what-ifs and wasted potential. I really liked the beginning part about Bobby and Jonathan in their youth. By the time they both moved to New York City, it took a turn for the worse. A lot of that can be contributed to the character of Clare, who was incredibly unlikable - a shallow, cynical, hipster type. Suddenly, after not even appearing until over 100 pages in, she took on a key role in the narrative. The story moved on well enough with her, but I couldn't stop...more
Kristopher Jansma
Apologies again for not posting in weeks. Those of you who know me most likely know that I recently got married (in fact most of you were probably at the wedding, which, appropriately, was held at the HousingWorks bookstore, here in New York City! But I have been reading - as well as teaching and grading and so forth - ever since then and have finally tonight had a good chance to sit down and reflect on what's crossed my plate recently.

A Home at the End of the World was always vaguely on the end...more
Tyler
Good novels often make me feel melancholy. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think it’s because they remind me that life can change quickly and unexpectedly, and that things rarely turn out the way we hope they will. Michael Cunningham’s A Home at the End of the World gave me that same melancholy feeling. So, in other words, it was a good novel.

Since I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction lately, at first I was thrilled by this book, pleased to be meeting new characters and watching them emerge as...more
Debbie
This was my favourite book so far this year. What a heartwrenching story! It follows two boys who meet in middle school, both are outcasts, and takes them through to their late twenties. These are original characters without being zany or bigger than life. They have complicated lives like we all do. When they reach adulthood, a third person, Clare an older woman, comes into their lives and complicate it further. The dust jacket on the book gives too much plot away but this isn't really a book ab...more
Elaine
Most humans need family, but that family needn't be a grouping of parents and cbildren. Humans need love as well, but it need not be sexual. Most humans want sex as well, heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, but sex is apart from love.

Cunningham has written an elegant and heartbreaking novel of both the breakup of family and the formation of a new one,"new" in all its meanings. The new family is bonded by love, each love different from the other. There are parental love, children's love, love b...more
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1432
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...
The Hours By Nightfall Specimen Days Flesh And Blood The Snow Queen

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