I am a big fan of Michale Cunningham's work. He has spellbound me when reading "The Hours" with all its interwined time capsules. He has pleasured me while reading his fantastic interplay of characters in "A Home At the End of The World" and writes from the heart in "Flesh and Blood"
Now Michael is at it again. His latest novel, "Specimen Days" , which I have ordered and not read yet is a collection of 3 linked novells that takes the form a ghost story, a thrillr and a science fiction tale all wrapped up in a neat bowtie.
Michael is really a cool guy. He likes long walks, his favorite East Village New York City book store haunts and peaceful times with his partner in P-Town.
The title, "Specimen Days" is borrowed from a collection of Walt Whitman autobiographical writings, beginning with a Victorian ghost story set in a rapidly industrializing, grit and dirty mid 19th century Manhattan. He next links us to New York after September 11, 2001. Then he ends it with a futuristic flare where thrill-seeking tourist pay to be mugged in a theme park called "Old New York" and where the masters of the universie use alien lizards as nannies. I kid you not.
This is an experiment in writing. He needed to top himself after his "the Hours" achievement.
And he does it with writings that stretch out over two centuries. This work may be flawed, but you can't fault the guy for exploring new territories in his writing.
He is a gay author first and foremost, but he doesn't make it the forcus of his work. I feel that this frees him to write creatively from the soul and take risks in doing so.
This won't be an easy summer read, but you'll come away with a deeper sense of awe and respect for this accomplished gay author for our times.