Saturday, January 21, 2012

By Nightfall - Michael Cunningham

I have a hard time getting into Michael Cunningham's writing - while he can tell a good story, he often tells it in a disjunctive lyrical way that I find distracting.  By Nightfall is a definite melding of the inner stream-of-conscience of one character alongside a straightforward narrative about a strange family and their wayward youngest brother.  The story takes place in New York and focuses on the artistic married couple of Peter and Rebecca.  While they are not exactly madly in love with each other after years of marriage, they seem to have figured out their rhythm.  That is, until Rebecca's much younger brother Ethan turns up and drags up family history and unresolved feelings.  The book is short, so when I found myself irritated with how self-absorbed and manipulative each of the characters is, I had the push to keep reading to at least find out how it ended.  Cunningham has a wonderful way with words, and this book was a reminder that I need to read another one of his, Specimen Days, that has been sitting on my shelves for years.  But, despite his popularity, I don't think he'll ever be an author that I love.

No comments: