Specimen Days is a genre-bending, haunting, and transformative ode to life in our greatest city, a work of surpassing power and beauty by one of the most original and daring writers at work today.
©2005 Michael Cunningham; (P)2005 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
"Engaging Walt Whitman as his muse, Cunningham weaves a captivating, strange, and extravagant novel of human progress and social decline....This is daring, memorable fiction." (Publishers Weekly)
"Brilliantly conceived, empathic, darkly humorous, and gorgeously rendered, Cunningham's galvanizing novel about the quest for justice and freedom, the parameters of the soul, the hunger for beauty, and the fluid interface between the natural and the engineered is a genuine literary event." (Booklist)
I've just finished "Specimen Days," and have to say it's a book I will definately read again someday. In this book, Cunningham takes the reader through three different and distinct periods in American "history" starting just at the dawn of the industrial revolution, making a stop in modern-day New York, and finally ending in a post-apocalyptic / dystopic version of our distant future.
What struck me most while listening to this book, is that the "flavor" of each story is distinct, even though many elements, including character's names, are shared between the stories, resonating Whitman's perception of the interconnectedness and cyclical nature of existence.
Thankfully, I went ahead and purchased this audiobook despite a critique I read of this book just before it was released. This particular critic labeled "Specimen Days" as a novel that "doesn't quite work." I have to disagree. "Specimen Days" works quite well, indeed.
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