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From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'The Hours' and new novel 'The Snow Queen', time, technology and love are the central concerns of a provocative novel that calls to mind David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas'. Lucas, Catherine, Simon: three characters meet time and again in the three linked narratives that form 'Specimen Days'. The first, a science fiction of the past, tells of a boy whose brother was 'devoured' by the machine he operated. The second is a noirish thriller set in our century, as a police psychologist attempts to track down a group of terrorists. And the third and final strand accompanies two strange beings into the future. A novel of connecting and reconnecting, inspired by the writings of the great visionary poet Walt Whitman, 'Specimen Days' is a genre-bending, haunting ode to life itself - a work of surpassing power and beauty by one of the most original and daring writers at work today.
About the Author
Michael Cunningham is the author of six novels, including 'A Home at the End of the World', 'Flesh and Blood', 'The Hours' (winner of the PEN / Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize), 'Specimen Days' and 'By Nightfall', as well as 'Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown'. His most recent novel is 'The Snow Queen'. He lives in New York.
From The Washington Post
Michael Cunningham, for all his popularity as a novelist of straightforward emotion, seems to me to be at heart an experimental writer. I don't mean the word in the way it is often used in English departments, a cooked-up moniker for prose that makes no sense or matters deeply to anyone but its writer and a few wags hoping to be thought of as intelligent. I mean experimental in the best sense -- its original, scientific and heroic sense: endeavoring to enlarge human knowledge through the rigorous observation of a small number of changed variables. Each of Cunningham's books seems to have been conceived in the spirit of discovery, and each of them has grasped for something incrementally different from and larger than the last.
A Home at the End of the World (1990) was a moving, if small, portrait of family and gayness. In his next novel, the underappreciated Flesh and Blood (1995), Cunningham kept the family and the gayness, and the variable he changed was the scope; Flesh and Blood was a much bigger book, with more characters and more scenes, and spanning many more years. The result was a sometimes uneven ride but nonetheless a profound emotional involvement, the most satisfying of all literary pleasures. That is to say, I cried. Then, with his overappreciated The Hours (1998), he kept the larger cast of characters and the long span of years but added a literary figure, Virginia Woolf, and a strange, almost supernatural implication of reincarnation. The result for the reader was an eerie sense of deepened emotion and heightened significance, even if both were logically inexplicable, and the result for the writer was the Pulitzer Prize. Live and learn.
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