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By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham
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Nov 26, 13

Read in February, 2012

“By Nightfall” Michael Cunningham. 2/5/12

The best book I’ve read since—Mario Vargas Llosa’s “The Feast of the Goat.” Really? Two masterpieces within a month? Karma is doing me a favor; Fortuna’s wheel, in my case, travels heavenward.

Wow. “By Nightfall.” Wow. I had truly forgotten about Cunningham, though I list him as my favorites, and now it is crystal clear why. I was uber-impressed by “Specimen Days,” a book the literati have literally forgotten. That was an exercise in genre mixing, of wild flights of fancy. This one is focused, all-encompassing. I began thinking about “Death in Venice” by Mann, and suddenly Cunningham makes an allusion to it. I know that I am in the correct wave, suddenly: that I am in the presence of something grand.

I will shock some: this is better than Mann’s opus. This book is what “A Single Man” that pretentious film, wanted to aspire to be. It is probably in the top ten gay lit books. Certainly.

Compare the American Cunningham with the British Ian McEwan. You can. Their styles are similar, but whereas McEwan exalts the British riche with its multifaceted perks of living in the highest echelons of modern society, Cunningham makes me for once proud to have a person on the same stratosphere as a rich Brit live so-- fully, splendidly, enviously-- in 2010's America. The protagonist is a thinking man, but his heart somehow forms the narrative, builds its parameters, and makes the quaint tale a full-blown pretty perfect masterpiece. I am not lying, it is as particular and tasteful and amazing as "Death in Venice": Beauty itself. I read it in two sittings… that in itself is magnificent (modern lives, it seems, are so complex, after all).
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Liana (new)

Liana I tried getting into this book particularly out of my love for The Hours. Didn't work.

message 2: by Terri (new)

Terri I too liked The Hours. I will give this a try in the next few months...

Fabian Short, sweet, simple. Great!

Robert Halbert- Pereno Sublime.

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