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Michael Cunningham Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Golden States (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Home at the End of the World (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Flesh and Blood (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hours (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Specimen Days (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
By Nightfall (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Snow Queen (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hours / Mrs. Dalloway (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Day (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

A Wild Swan: And Other Tales (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Open City 6: The Only Woman He Ever Left(1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction(1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Electric Literature no. 1(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Letter Q(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
New Haven Noir(2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fight of the Century(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Michael Cunningham is an American award-winning author of nonfiction, literature, and fiction books best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Hours.

His books tell detailed stories without missing detail and masterfully explores the private, quiet moments of life.
Michael Cunningham was born in Cincinnati but spent his childhood in La, Canada, California. He attended Stanford University and majored in Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and later obtained his M.F.A from the University of Iowa.

He has authored one nonfiction book Land’s End: A Walk-Through Provincetown. His two books By Nightfall and Specimen Days have been optioned for movie adaptations. There’s a film version of his award-winning novel The Hours featuring Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Nicole Kidman directed by Stephen Daldry.
The author’s work has been featured in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, The Paris Review among other publications. Additionally, his story, White Angel was a top pick for the Best American Short Stories 1989.

The Hours
In his Pulitzer-winning novel, Michael Cunningham has crafted a magisterial novel that blends ideas of failure, creativity, love, depression, suicide, and gender and he’s achieved it in a way that manages to be extremely moving in just a few pages.

The narrative expands excellently around an array of motifs and images that build up meaning every time they appear and reappear. The author allows his connections to speak to one another and to the readers as they car the message beyond the plot surface.

Before reading this novel, it’s highly recommended you read Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf as it should make you understand the beauty of this story and appreciates the references that Cunningham adds to it.

Mrs. Dalloway plays an important role in connecting the three female characters in this story. One is writing about Dalloway, (Virginia Woolf), the other is reading about the character (Laura Brown) while the third is living Mrs. Dalloway’s life.

In 1943, Virginia Woolf drowned herself in the River Ouse at Lewes. That’s the prologue- a fear/anxiety-inducing introduction to The Hours.
In the foreground is the narrative of Mrs. Woolf living with her beloved husband in Richmond- during an 8-year exile from London to recover from her headaches, voices in her head, and to write her book, Mrs. Dalloway.

The second narrative connects to the life of Mrs. Brown, an expectant housewife in 1949. She feels trapped in her own life and wants to escape from a cake she’s preparing for her husband’s birthday. She spends most of her time in bed reading the story of Mrs. Dalloway. Parallel to the story is the narrative of the fictional Mrs. Dalloway that’s set in the 1990s featuring Clarissa Vaughan planning a party for her best friend Richard Brown. Mrs. Dalloway is Richard Brown’s nickname for Clarissa, with whom they shared passion when they were teenagers.

The last narrative is almost a modern re-creation of that single day in the life of Mrs. Dalloway as narrated by Woolf.

The Hours unravels to the readers the vulnerable lives of not only the three women but also Richard (best poet who sees himself as a complete failure), Richie Brown (3-year-old who loves him mom but fears losing her, and Louis Water a playwright saddened by the short of love in this world.
Cunningham carefully weaves a story with insight and empath showcasing the different shifts in mood over the course of a normal day; masterfully showcasing the dark abyss into which a normal person can crumble into when overwhelmed by rejection and self-loathing as well as bright moments when life awards you a gift accepted with gratitude.

As the reader, you can recognize the fight most the characters put up within themselves as they try to manage their emotions and gain bits of rationality. This is evident in a scene where Mrs. Woolf talking herself about her hostility towards one of her servant Nelly as he prepares a lunch she dislikes.
Michael Cunningham has crafted three ardent and yet sad world for his readers. Three worlds experienced by three women all with the emotions of grief, love, and longing blended together into such a moving story of life and death. No wonder his lyrical writing style won the hearts of many people across the world not forgetting the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize.

The Hours is named as the original title of Virginia Woolf’s novel, Mrs. Dalloway, and feels like a biography of both pain and depression. The readers experience hours of depression, grief, and sorrow.

By Nightfall
By Nightfall is the story of a middle-aged art dealer Peter Harris gravely seeking a promise from all corners of his normal life. In his line of work, family, and marriage, Peter is unfulfilled. Most of the narration is unraveled in peter’s head and this gives the readers a sneak peek into his most intimate and unsettling thoughts.

In his line of work, Peter longs to find the best artists whose art will not only inspire but also get art collectors to sign their cheques. He’s on the verge of finding such an artist but unfortunately, he doesn’t due to the misfortune of his best friend and colleague.

On the other hand, Peter’s marriage is crumbling. His wife Rebecca works as an editor for an arts publication- she’s beautiful and successful and his feelings for her are vanishing and when her brother Ethan comes into the picture, the true marriage breakage starts.

Also known as Mizzy aka the Mistake, Rebecca’s brother is both charming and cunning. He comes to crash at their apartment while trying to find a focus on his life. He informs Peter that a career in arts could be something he can consider, Peter cautiously agrees to be his mentor. However, Peter soon learns a secret about Mizzy- something that bounds the two men together.

With strong feelings of love surfacing between the two men, Peter is forced to reexamine his parameters of love and lust. Michael Cunningham’s book By Nightfall is a moving story of a conflicted man who in the long run unravels what he’s willing to sacrifice for his happiness.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Michael Cunningham

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