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A Home at the End of the World

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  17,905 ratings  ·  954 reviews
Michael Cunningham’s celebrated novel is the story 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, scuttling the plans of Jonathan, who is gay, to father C ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Picador (first published 1990)
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Cami Diaz "The Hours" (a more known book of his) has a 960L, so I guess this one is at around the same level. It is quite sexual, though, so I wouldn't recommen…more"The Hours" (a more known book of his) has a 960L, so I guess this one is at around the same level. It is quite sexual, though, so I wouldn't recommend it for children(less)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  17,905 ratings  ·  954 reviews

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Violet wells
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Perhaps one reason Shakespeare is so untouchably brilliant is that you have no idea who he is from his work. This is rarely true of novelists. Read a Fitzgerald or Hemmingway novel and there's the author himself on almost every page. No one doubts Dr Zhivago is Pasternak himself. And I could carry on with innumerable other examples. True some novelists are more elusive in their work and demand more detective work, like Henry James or Nabokov or Virginia Woolf. But when you read a number of novel ...more
May 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is the "Less than Zero"ish novel of the popular NYC writer, and just like Bret Easton Ellis' depiction of the derelict children of sunny Cali in the 80's, Cunningham encapsulates the latter 80's in the East Village & early 60's, 70's in the stark midwest) with lost souls and 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 ch
Nick Pageant
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-lit
A million stars. What an amazing book. The writing is incredible - just beautiful, beautiful words. I can’t even be coherent about this thing. One of the very, very few books I’ve read populated by REAL people. READ IT. EVERYONE READ IT.

Directly after I've finished the book:

THAT, my friends, is an excellent example of a literary fiction.

And it is not easy to rate the books of the genre.
They could be everything - from 2 to 5 stars.

Well, I have to decide between 4 or 5 in this specific case, but it won't be easier to write a review for it. The reason WHY I love literary fiction-it makes you not only feel, but think, think a lot.
Oh, yes, it can even detect our hidden individual talent for philosophy.

Now I'll go into my tu
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
Jun 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"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
Jun 06, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer
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
Lukas Anthony
A couple of jumbled thoughts...

I found this to be quite an introspective character focused novel. It's plot is sort used as a backdrop to the characters working through their insecurities about relationships, loneliness, and the expectations they have about their life. Not a lot happens plot wise really, it's more about what is going on within the heads of the characters.
Sometimes I was completely enthralled with them. The first half is especially engaging with the dynamic between the boys and
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this gorgeously evocative novel 20 years ago, and can still remember indelible moments in the most vivid manner.
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
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it

This started out amazing, got kind of muddled for me in the middle and ended brilliantly. This is about a kind of love triangle between Jonathan, his best friend Bobby and Clare.

Jonathan and Bobby meet as teenagers and become inseperable. While Jonathan is gay, it is less clear what Bobby is, besides devoted to Jonathan. When Jonathan moves away to New York City (this is a Cunningham novel, so of course there's NYC... and complicated sibling relationships and some drugs, but not that many
Jennifer Ochoa
I think I'm experiencing Cunningham Fatigue. I've read four of his novels in the last two years and they are starting to run together. He does seem to work with very similar themes in his works, something I actually like about him.

This novel reminds me a lot of his most recent novel, The Snow Queen, another story about a trio, quartet if you want to count Alice in this novel, and Liz in the other novel. (Liz is very similar to Clare, I should add). It feels like Cunningham uses his novels to wo
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: status-borrowed
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
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, warm, touching and oh, so human.

(Rest in the updates below, as per usual).
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
"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
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cunningham’s writing is, as always, powerful in its restraint. He is able, somehow, to create characters and settings that seem fully-formed and three-dimensional in such a way that one doesn’t notice them being realized until they already exist in one’s head, and heart.
The House at the end of the World isn’t quite as affecting, or accomplished as Flesh & Blood or as stylistically impressive as The Hours, but nonetheless, I found myself drawn in, regardless. I wouldn’t advise this novel as an i
lucy  black
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: love, novel, favourites
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
Sep 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
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.
Sean Kennedy
I think Michael Cunningham's The Hours is an almost perfect work of fiction, and I have liked some of his other stories as well, but I'm starting to get a bit sick of the 'tragic gay' theme that runs throughout them all. I know that the early days of AIDS were horrific, with huge swathes of the gay community being wiped out, but I'm also tired of a great deal of gay fiction feeling that it has to be tragedy to gain kudos. All these books have helpless and hopeless outcomes for the gay characters ...more
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If I could give this more than five stars, I would. It’s so beautiful and touching. The characters feel very real and it’s great that the story is told from more than one perspective. It has been a wonderful reading experience.
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A Home at the End of The World is a love story. A convoluted, unbalanced, discombobulated love story, but a love story nonetheless.

Jonathan meets Bobby in the eighth grade, and to call what forms between them a simple friendship would be to apply a cheap misnomer. They bond over weed, music, angst and rebellion. They discover physical sex together. They become defined by the other, a pair united by some commensal inner turmoil that seems incapable to define. And then they graduate high school,
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Michael Cunningham is one of my favorite writers. He can make the mundane, everyday life of normal people come vividly to life through his words. While this story became a bit meandering and scattered at times, Cunningham's attention to detail and genuine love for the characters he has created shine through. I always recommend anything by this man.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2006
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.
I started out enjoying the book very much. But somewhere along the line, I stopped recognizing motivations of the characters. They're supposed to be unconventional, but I couldn't figure out why they were so. There was something opaque about each of the main trio - Jon, Bobby & Clare. Bobby, to begin with seems a very observant young person. He says of his father buying a Cadillac, that he was as skeptical as his older brother was thrilled. If his father was the kind of person who bought a car o ...more
I felt I needed to give Michael Cunningham another shot since I really didn’t like The Hours. I think thematically there are some similarities here (stifling suburbia being one), but overall I liked A Home at the End of the World, though I don’t think Cunningham is ever going to be a favorite author of mine.

There isn’t a story really but rather the trajectories of four characters who alternately come together and move apart over the space of about 20 years: Alice, the suburban housewife stranded
Kurt Ostrow
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I'd only wanted to hold him for a while, to guide his head to my chest. I'd only wanted to hold on to him as his body went through the long work of giving itself up to the past" (312).

"What I saw was just the wind blowing. It was either the wind or the spirit of the house itself, briefly unsettled by our nocturnal absence but too old to be surprised by the errands born from the gap between what we can imagine and what we in fact create" (336).

Aside from some lite gender essentialism, Cunningham
Emma Getz
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
“Perhaps, in the extravagance of youth, we give away our devotions easily and all but arbitrarily, on the mistaken assumption that we’ll always have more to give.”


This was a beautifully written and evocative novel that had much of the same charm and heart as The Hours, one of my favorites and another novel by Cunningham. This one was split into three parts, and I absolutely loved the first part exploring the childhood of Jonathan and Bobby, but found myself less enchanted with the later pa
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book will change your view on life, relationships, love, friendships and family. But most of all, this is a novel about love. You'll learn a lot about it.

Kristopher Jansma
Nov 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookblog
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
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Reading 1001: A Home at The End of the World- Michael Cunningham 1 8 Jun 18, 2019 02:33PM  
***** 2 23 Oct 26, 2015 03:20PM  

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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

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