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By Nightfall
     

By Nightfall

3.1 120
by Michael Cunningham
 

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A New York Times Bestseller

Peter and Rebecca Harris, midforties, are prosperous denizens of Manhattan. He's an art dealer, she's an editor. They live well. They have their troubles—their ebbing passions, their wayward daughter, and certain doubts about their careers—but they feel as though they're happy. Happy enough. Until Rebecca's much

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By Nightfall 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 119 reviews.
GEORGIAMOON More than 1 year ago
Peter and Rebecca, a middle aged New York City couple, a grown daughter off to Boston, and Rebecca's younger brother coming to visit are the main characters. News of Rebecca's brother's visit brings apprehension and concern. Still, he arrives, straight from somewhere in the Far East. His arrival affects both, but not more than Peter, who is surprisingly finding himself drawn to the young lad after a couple of mistaken encounters that allow Peter to see him for the first time. They live in upper-class Soho, modern-day Manhattan, and the appearance of Ethan tests the couple's relationship in ways none of them ever would have seen coming. The author has brilliant insights into the human condition and gets it across beautifully in his writing technique dealing with a challenging subject matter.
TheCrowdedLeaf More than 1 year ago
Michael Cunningham's latest book since Flesh and Blood (2007) is a literary internal monologue of sorts. A book about that strange and complicated world of Adulthood. A book that exposes our fears through its words, but charmingly underestimates itself. Told in a close-third-person narrative, we follow Peter Harris and his wife Rebecca as their every day routine is upended by the reappearance of Rebecca's nomad younger brother, Mizzy. Peter is our main character, and the beauty and the crux of Cunningham's novel is that for as much as we want to like Peter, he makes it impossible. We dislike Peter, but we understand him, and eventually, we feel sorry for him; for during all the pages leading up to the end, he's tried to justify his actions to us, only to be foiled by fate himself. He's the victim in the end. He fell into waywardness by claiming it all happened by "accident." Only knowing it was happening made it not an accident, and in the end he is exposed. We struggle to like Peter and his flaws and issues because for better or worse, he is our information source. We're in his head, his thoughts, his weaknesses, his poses and postures. We know his script and his stage directions. It becomes difficult to tell if we don't like him because that's the way he is, or because Cunningham's writing is flawed, thereby making the book flawed. By Nightfall is one long (short) existentialist angst-ridden character-driven novel. Like he writes, Cunningham seems to be "still working something out" with this novel, and that's the either the brilliance or the downfall of it. There's a chance that it's all one big cliche. I can't tell. By Nightfall is like a work of art that you have to think about and return back to many times in order to understand, but understanding isn't meant to happen, so it never does. Did I love it as much as I loved The Hours? In the end, yes I think I did, but for very different reasons. *Update 10/23/2010: After thinking over this book for the last couple days I've realized there's something unsettling about By Nightfall that I can't quite put my finger on. It's the reasons I say it's hard to like Peter; it's the reason I think this novel is either amazing or amazingly cliche. For those of you who loved The Hours and think that's why you might like to read this one, start it with an open mind. It's nothing like The Hours, but that doesn't make it bad. Something has to be said for the fact that it's still got me thinking about it four days later, afterall.
Kris_Stacey More than 1 year ago
Moving book that will stay in your mind for a good while.
MichaelTravisJasper More than 1 year ago
This book is a bit short and compact, but contains a rather interesting story. There isn't a lot of action here. On the surface, it's the tale of a middle-aged, married man falling in love with his young brother-in-law. However, on a deeper level, it's about what makes someone feel successful. Most of all, you will think about what makes a person stay in a relationship, and the difference between complacency and actual happiness. The story also gives one cause to consider the nature of sexual orientation, and the fact that it is somewhat fluid for many people. True thinkers will be fascinated by this glimpse into the human heart. Michael Travis Jasper, Author of the Novel "To Be Chosen"
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beardocnj More than 1 year ago
Michael Cunningham is one of my favorite authors.  I've read - and thoroughly enjoyed - everything he's written to date.  But he missed the mark by a large margin with this book.  His style of writing, with looooooong, run-on sentences, chopped up with interspersed narrative that is supposed to reflect "inner thoughts" (what's up with that?) bog the reader down and, ultimately are annoying.  Further, as other critics have noted, the characters are difficult to care about.  They're tentative (especially the protagonist, Peter, and come across as flawed but wishy-washy.  Peter is the fine, upstanding citizen with a solid, if boring, job.  No hint of questioning sexuality.  Yet here comes Mizzy (is he gay?  bi?) and suddenly Peter's world is rocked with just a tentative kiss?  Yes, I continued reading avidly, but only with the hope that SOMETHING would wake these characters from the stupor they all seem to be in.  I wish I had skipped it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME. The plot and characters could not be more boring and as the reader you never care about any of them. Why on earth is Cunningham getting such rave reviews from NYTimes? Have stopped looking at the NYT Best Sellers because apparently their reviewers don't know their heads from their a** as to what is a "GOOD READ".
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