HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham
Loading...

Specimen Days (2005)

by Michael Cunningham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,571384,676 (3.42)53
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 53 mentions

English (35)  Finnish (2)  German (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Three novellas, hooked together by a seemingly random grab bag of recurring names, objects and Turette-like spouting of Walt Whitman. The first piece is riveting, the second is OK and the third unfortunately, just doesn't work. Readable, but misses greatness.
( )
  idyll | Apr 9, 2013 |
I loved this book. Wish I'd written it. ( )
  EllenMeeropol | Apr 7, 2013 |
Not my favorite by Cunningham. The first story really turned me off - i nearly gave up, but I knew I would have wondered about the others for a long time if I had, so I stuck it out. The second and third stories were much more interesting, perhaps because they built on the first two. I wonder if Walt Whitman fans would have appreciated the book more? Not that I don't like Whitman, but I wouldn't say I am really into him or know his work. ( )
  anneearney | Mar 31, 2013 |
Reading as an unabridged audiobook. Cunningham is an author who makes me wish I were taking a class on the novel so I'd have reason to engage with his work more critically. I hardly know what to say about this, except that although the structural play was sometimes a hammer when a feather was called for, this is one of the most engaging and pleasing novels I've read recently. The novel is composed of three related stories (a quick perusal of Cunningham's oeuvre shows that he likes to work in threes). Unlike [b:The Hours|11899|The Hours|Michael Cunningham|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266450503s/11899.jpg|2245431], these three stories are not interwoven but presented chronologically. They are related by characters of the same name, several objects, and Walt Whitman's [b:Leaves of Grass|27494|Leaves of Grass|Walt Whitman|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1167881477s/27494.jpg|28117], which serves both to advance the plot and as a chorus to comment on the action and characters. The first story is a bleak tragedy of the early industrial era, with ghosts; the second is a contemporary cop story, with terrorists; the third is a post-lapsarian dystopian tale, with androids (or possible cyborgs, though androids seems technically more correct) and aliens. Throw in some Whitman and you've got a very interesting novel about identity, ecstasy, and what it is to be human. The audiobook, ably narrated by Alan Cumming, is available at http://www.powells.com/biblio/62-9781593976897-0 ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
When I first started reading this, I didn't think I would like it. But it slowly started to grow on me, so that by the end of the first story, I loved it. This book is fascinating, and it has so much going on. I'm so glad I stuck with it.

It has also made me want to find out more about Walt Whitman. ( )
  vivaval | Mar 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cunningham, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abelsen, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drews, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Was inspired by

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Fear not O Muse! truly new ways and days receive, surround you,
I candidly confess a queer, queer race, of novel fashion,
And yet the same old human race, the same within, without,
Faces and hearts the same, feelings the same, yearnings the same,
The same old love, beauty and use the same. -- Walt Whitman
Dedication
This novel is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Dorothy
First words
Walt said that the dead turned into grass, but there was no grass where they'd buried Simon.
Quotations
Last words
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
The novel is divided into what are essentially three discrete short stories, unified by common threads such as character names and types, story location (New York City), story themes (such as shared humanity), and the presence of Walt Whitman (whether through actual physical presence, quotation of his works via narrator or character, or the spirit of his ideas expressed through narrator or character).
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312425023, Paperback)

Book Description: In each section of Michael Cunningham's bold new novel, his first since The Hours, we encounter the same group of characters: a young boy, an older man, and a young woman. "In the Machine" is a ghost story that takes place at the height of the industrial revolution, as human beings confront the alienating realities of the new machine age. "The Children's Crusade," set in the early twenty-first century, plays with the conventions of the noir thriller as it tracks the pursuit of a terrorist band that is detonating bombs, seemingly at random, around the city. The third part, "Like Beauty," evokes a New York 150 years into the future, when the city is all but overwhelmed by refugees from the first inhabited planet to be contacted by the people of Earth.

Presiding over each episode of this interrelated whole is the prophetic figure of the poet Walt Whitman, who promised his future readers, "It avails not, neither time or place ... I am with you, and know how it is." Specimen Days is a genre-bending, haunting, and transformative ode to life in our greatest city and a meditation on the direction and meaning of America's destiny. It is a work of surpassing power and beauty by one of the most original and daring writers at work today.

More from Michael Cunningham


The Hours
A Home at the End of the World
Flesh and Blood

Whitman Sampler


The Portable Walt Whitman
Specimen Days & Collect
Walt Whitman: Poetry and Prose

Whitman Sampler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:20 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"In each section of Michael Cunningham's new novel, we encounter the same group of characters: a young boy, a man, and a woman. "In the Machine" is a ghost story that takes place at the height of the industrial revolution, as human beings confront the alienating realities of the new machine age. "The Children's Crusade, " set in the early twenty-first century, plays with the conventions of the noir thriller as it tracks the pursuit of a terrorist band that is detonating bombs, seemingly at random, around the city. The third part, "Like Beauty," evokes a New York 150 years into the future, when the city is all but overwhelmed by refugees from the first inhabited planet to be contacted by the people of Earth." "Presiding over each episode of this inter-related whole is the prophetic figure of the poet Walt Whitman. Specimen Days is a transformative ode to life in our greatest city, and a meditation on the direction and meaning of America's destiny."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
93 avail.
19 wanted
3 pay11 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.42)
0.5 2
1 13
1.5 5
2 39
2.5 12
3 88
3.5 43
4 84
4.5 13
5 53

Audible.com

Four editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 93,370,750 books! | Top bar: Always visible