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

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  824 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
In this celebration of one of America's oldest towns (incorporated in 1720), Michael Cunningham, author of the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning The Hours, brings us Provincetown, one of the most idiosyncratic and extraordinary towns in the United States, perched on the sandy tip at the end of Cape Cod.

Provincetown, eccentric, physically remote, and heartbreakingly beau
Audio CD, Abridged, 0 pages
Published May 4th 2004 by Random House Audio (first published August 6th 2002)
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Jan 16, 2015 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
Laurel King
This book was more about Michael Cunningham than it was about Provincetown.
Michael Armijo
Nov 02, 2010 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 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.)
Aug 22, 2014 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.
Liz Shine
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up on my own walk through Provincetown at a used bookstore. When I visit a place, I try to pick up a book of poems written in that place. In this case, I picked up Land's End, a word-tour through Provincetown. It functions as a sort of ode. Cunningham's writing is superb, rich in detail and heartfelt and funny comparisons. Some history, some sociology, some geography, all sewn up with tender moments of memoir.

Ros Johnson
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a lesbian who has traveled to Provincetown every year at least once for about 35 years, Cunningham's familiarity with the locale and celebration of it was delightful to read.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a uniquely wonderful book to read about and while in P Town. Each descriptive sentence is perfect.
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, places
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 03, 2013 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
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
MrsGeary Geary
Dec 14, 2015 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
Paula Dembeck
Jun 11, 2013 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
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
Jun 03, 2012 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
Jun 23, 2015 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
Oct 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Debra Moffitt
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short book is a never-boring character study of Provincetown and the people who choose to live and spend time there. Cunningham shares how life is or was (the book pubbed in 2002) for the gay community. He wrote this line about the evolution of retail shops, but it can be taken in a broader sense today. At one time, Provincetown supported three leather shops. But that was changing even in 2002, Cunningham writes. "...a certain general fantasy about outlaw status has been replaced by one of ...more
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, october
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
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jack Alexander
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Janice Nelson
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Bill Arning
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very curious to re-read in 2016

A book that was my introduction to Provincetown 15 years ago when I first went is still full of very beautiful descriptive language for the magical effects of the place. While the more guide book like aspects have aged poorly, and the East End West End descriptions no longer hold there is enough to return to again. The section of scattering ashes in the salt marsh is even more poignant.
May 16, 2016 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.

Sep 20, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  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.
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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 (Crown Journeys)
  • Blues City: A Walk in Oakland
  • Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park (Crown Journeys)
  • Time and Tide: A Walk Through Nantucket (Crown Journeys)
  • Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago
  • Time's Magpie: A Walk in Prague (Crown Journeys)

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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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