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Works by
Michael Cunningham

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Profile created 2003
  • Laws for Creations (2006)
    In Walt Whitman, Michael Cunningham sees a poet whose vision of humanity is ecstatic, democratic, and sensuous. Just over a hundred years ago, Whitman celebrated America as it survived the Civil War, as it endured great poverty, and as it entered the Industrial Revolution, which would make it the most powerful nation on Earth. In Specimen Days Michael Cunningham makes Whitmans verse sing across time, and in Laws for Creations he celebrates what Whitman means to him, and how he appeared at the heart of his new novel. Just as the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Hours drew on the life and work of English novelist Viriginia Woolf, Specimen Days lovingly features the work of American poet Walt Whitman. Bringing together extracts from Whitmans prodigious writings, including Leaves of Grass and his journal, Specimen Days, Michael Cunninghams Laws for Creations provides an introduction to one of Americas greatest visionary poets from one of our greatest contemporary novelists.

  • Specimen Days (2005)
    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.

  • Land's End: A Walk Through Provincetown (2002)
    In this celebration of one of America’s oldest towns (incorporated in 1720), Michael Cunningham, author of the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning The Hours, brings us Provincetown, one of the most idiosyncratic and extraordinary towns in the United States, perched on the sandy tip at the end of Cape Cod.

    Provincetown, eccentric, physically remote, and heartbreakingly beautiful, has been amenable and intriguing to outsiders for as long as it has existed. “It is the only small town I know of where those who live unconventionally seem to outnumber those who live within the prescribed bounds of home and licensed marriage, respectable job, and biological children,” says Cunningham. “It is one of the places in the world you can disappear into. It is the Morocco of North America, the New Orleans of the north.”

    He first came to the place more than twenty years ago, falling in love with the haunted beauty of its seascape and the rambunctious charm of its denizens. Although Provincetown is primarily known as a summer mecca of stunning beaches, quirky shops, and wild nightlife, as well as a popular destination for gay men and lesbians, it is also a place of deep and enduring history, artistic and otherwise. Few towns have attracted such an impressive array of artists and writers—from Tennessee Williams to Eugene O’Neill, Mark Rothko to Robert Motherwell—who, like Cunningham, were attracted to this finger of land because it was . . . different, nonjudgmental, the perfect place to escape to; to be rescued, healed, reborn, or simply to live
    in peace. As we follow Cunningham on his various excursions through Provincetown and its surrounding landscape, we are drawn into its history, its mysteries, its peculiarities—places you won’t read about in any conventional travel guide.

  • A Home at the End of the World (1990)
    From Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours, comes this widely praised novel of two boyhood friends: Jonathan, lonely, introspective, and unsure of himself; and Bobby, hip, dark, and inarticulate. In New York after college, Bobby moves in with Jonathan and his roommate, Clare, a veteran of the city's erotic wars. Bobby and Clare fall in love, scuttling the plans of Jonathan, who is gay, to father Clare's child. Then, when Clare and Bobby have a baby, the three move to a small house upstate to raise "their" child together and, with an odd friend, Alice, create a new kind of family. A Home at the End of the World masterfully depicts the charged, fragile relationships of urban life today.

  • Flesh and Blood (1995) -- Winner 1995 Lambda Literary Award for Male Fiction
    In Flesh and Blood, Michael Cunningham takes us on a masterful journey through four generations of the Stassos family as he examines the dynamics of a family struggling to "come of age" in the 20th century.

    In 1950, Constantine Stassos, a Greek immigrant laborer, marries Mary Cuccio, an Italian-American girl, and together they produce three children: Susan, an ambitious beauty, Billy, a brilliant homosexual, and Zoe, a wild child. Over the years, a web of tangled longings, love, inadequacies and unfulfilled dreams unfolds as Mary and Constantine's marriage fails and Susan, Billy, and Zoe leave to make families of their own. Zoe raises a child with the help of a transvestite, Billy makes a life with another man, and Susan raises a son conceived in secret, each extending the meaning of family and love. With the power of a Greek tragedy, the story builds to a heartbreaking crescendo, allowing a glimpse into contemporary life which will echo in one's heart for years to come.

  • The Hours (1998)
    Winner 1999 Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction; Winner 1999 Pulitzer Prize  for Fiction;
    Finalist for the1999 ALA GLBTF Book Award for Literature
    The Hours
    tells the story of three women: Virginia Woolf, beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway as she recuperates in a London suburb with her husband in 1923; Clarissa Vaughan, beloved friend of an acclaimed poet dying from AIDS, who in modern-day New York is planning a party in his honor; and Laura Brown, in a 1949 Los Angeles suburb, who slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family and home. By the end of the novel, these three stories intertwine in remarkable ways, and finally come together in an act of subtle and haunting grace.

  • Golden States (1985)
    "...This spring David Stark will cross the boundary from youth to manhood. Like Huckleberry Finn's coming of age, David's passage captures, for one golden moment, a time (the 1980s), a place (Southern California), and a way of seeing the world that exemplifies America itself -- as it is now, as it is changing, and as it will become.
    Here is the story of a man whose courage, wonder, and love for his family represent all of us at our best. Here is an American family that -- in its vulnerability and endurance -- is all our families. And here is a startlingly fine first novel that celebrates all that is good and interesting about this country and its people..

  • Electric Literature: #1 (2009)
    Includes works by Diana Wagman, Jim Shepard, Lydia Millet, Michael Cunningham, and T Cooper
    Electric Literature is just that, electric - five great stories that grab you. Our Summer 2009 debut anthology features the first published excerpt from Michael Cunningham's forthcoming novel. This issue also features new fiction by some of America's most innovative and important contemporary writers, including Jim Shepard, T Cooper, Lydia Millet, and Diana Wagman. These stories are charged with wit, incident, and emotional gravity right from the first sentence.

See also:
  • A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer (2007)
    Selections from the “Until the Violence Stops” Festival

    Featuring writings by Abiola Abrams, Alice Walker , Anna Deavere Smith, Ariel Dorfman, Betty Gale Tyson, Carol Gilligan, Carol Michèle Kaplan, Christine House, Dave Eggers, Deena Metzger, Diana Son, Edward Albee, Edwidge Danticat, Elizabeth Lesser, Erin Cressida Wilson, Eve Ensler, Hanan al-Shaykh, Howard Zinn, James Lecesne, Jane Fonda, Jody Williams, Jyllian Gunther, Kate Clinton, Kathy Engel, Kathy Najimy, Kimberle Crenshaw, Lynn Nottage, Marie Howe, Mark Matousek, Maya Angelou, Michael Cunningham, Michael Eric Dyson, Michael Klein, Moises Kaufman, Mollie Doyle, Monica Szlekovics, Nicholas Kristof, Nicole Burdette, Patricia Bosworth, Periel Aschenbrand, Robert Thurman, Robin Morgan, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Sharon Olds, Slavenka Drakulic, Suheir Hammad, Susan Miller, Susan Minot, Tariq Ali, and Winter Miller.

    This groundbreaking collection, edited by author and playwright Eve Ensler, features pieces from “Until the Violence Stops,” the international tour that brings the issue of violence against women and girls to the forefront of our consciousness. These diverse voices rise up in a collective roar to break open, expose, and examine the insidiousness of brutality, neglect, a punch, or a put-down. Here is Edward Albee on S&M; Maya Angelou on women’s work; Michael Cunningham on self-mutilation; Dave Eggers on a Sudanese  abduction; Carol Gilligan on a daughter witnessing her mother being hit; Susan Miller on raising a son as a single mother; and Sharon Olds on a bra.

    These writings are inspired, funny, angry, heartfelt, tragic, and beautiful. But above all, together they create a true and profound portrait of this issue’s effect on every one of us. With information on how to organize an “Until the Violence Stops” event in your community, A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer is a call to the world to demand an end to violence against women.

  • Something Inside: Conversations With Gay Fiction Writers (1980, 1999)  by Philip Gambone, Compiler and Robert Giard, Photographer
    In the last twenty years, gay literature has earned a place at the American and British literary tables, spawning its own constellation of important writers and winning a dedicated audience. No one though, until Philip Gambone, has attempted to offer a collective portrait of our most important gay writers. This collection of interviews attempts just that, and is notable both for the depth of Gambone's probing conversations and for the sheer range of important authors included. Virtually every prominent gay author writing in English today is here, including Alan Hollinghurst, Allen Barnett, Andrew Holleran, Bernard Cooper, Brad Gooch, Brian Keith Jackson, Christopher Bram, David Leavitt, David Plante, Dennis Cooper, Edmund White, Gary Glickman, John Preston, Joseph Hansen, Lev Raphael, Michael Cunningham, Michael Lowenthal, Michael Nava, Paul Monette, Peter Cameron, and Scott Heim.

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