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As the world changes around them, a family weathers the storms of growing up, growing older, falling in and out of love, losing the things that are most precious – and learning to go on.
April 5th, 2019: In a cozy brownstone in Brooklyn, the veneer of domestic bliss is beginning to crack. Dan and Isabel, troubled husband and wife, are both a little bit in love with Isabel’s younger brother, Robbie. Robbie, wayward soul of the family, who still lives in the attic loft; Robbie, who, trying to get over his most recent boyfriend, has created a glamorous avatar online; Robbie, who now has to move out of the house – and whose departure threatens to break the family apart. And then there is Nathan, age ten, taking his first uncertain steps toward independence, while Violet, five, does her best not to notice the growing rift between her parents.
April 5th, 2020: As the world goes into lockdown the brownstone is feeling more like a prison. Violet is terrified of leaving the windows open, obsessed with keeping her family safe. Isabel and Dan circle each other warily, communicating mostly in veiled jabs and frustrated sighs. And beloved Robbie is stranded in Iceland, alone in a mountain cabin with nothing but his thoughts – and his secret Instagram life – for company.
April 5th, 2021: Emerging from the worst of the crisis, the family comes together to reckon with a new, very different reality – with what they’ve learned, what they’ve lost, and how they might go on.
From the brilliant mind of Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham, Day is a searing, exquisitely crafted meditation on love and loss, and the struggles and limitations of family life – how to live together and apart, and maybe even escape the marriage plot entirely.
Author: Michael Cunningham
Paperback Published 29 November 2023 336 pages
Read and Recommended by Graeme:
"The novels of Michael Cunningham often seem to explore the dynamics between a trio of two men (one gay, one straight) and a woman. It features in A Home at the End of the World, Nightfall, and again here in Day. Yet there is nothing stale about this new novel and it is probably his most engrossing novel since The Hours. Robbie is a gay man, working as a school teacher, although once upon a time he was destined for a more illustrious career. His various romances and relationships have not lasted and he finds himself single and living in the attic bedroom of his sister Isabel and her husband Dan’s brownstone in Brooklyn. But the couple have two children, the space is becoming too small, and the time has come for Robbie to move on. The novel is in three parts - each part set on the 5 April over three different years, 2019, 2020 and 2021 - with Covid upturning the lives of these characters and their extended circle, sometimes shockingly. The great strength and beauty of the novel is Cunningham’s wise exploration of a gay man of a certain age whose life didn’t really succeed as it might have. Paths not taken, relationships that ended, sometimes abruptly. As Robbie sets about packing some of his belongings to leave Brooklyn he discovers mementos of these men that stir the memories. Cunningham’s observations have a universality that will resonate with many gay male readers, although he is equally astute in exploring the lives, hopes and disappointments of his other characters."
“In Day, Michael Cunningham displays his great gift for creating memorable characters, for noticing the world in all its oddness and beauty, for writing about love and loss in tones that are both unsparing and tender.”—Colm Tóibín, New York Times bestselling author of The Magician
“Cunningham is one of our great American writers, and here is another masterpiece. Day shows all his extraordinary gifts of epic sweep and intricate detail, lyrical language and plain hard words, memory and imagination, love and hope and loss. It does what only great books can do. Read it and be changed.”—Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Less Is Lost
“Michael Cunningham, the perennial master of rendering the quotidian with a profound and deeply considered eye for human frailty, returns with a book that exemplifies the hallmarks of his style: lush, erudite, voracious in its seeking. Like a true poet, he remakes the world in his descriptions, freshened with care and compassion and tinged with the radiant heat of grief. What a quietly stunning achievement.”—Ocean Vuong, New York Times bestselling author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous