Saturday, January 13, 2007

Speciman Days, by Michael Cunningham

I have always been a fan of Michael Cunningham, since I saw the film, "Hours," and then read the novel. As usual, I had to ferret out all his other books, which I have uniformly enjoyed.

Specimen Days is a collection of three novellas woven together with similarly named characters around a framework of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. I never cared much for Whitman, but I am going to read Leaves now.

The writing is absorbing, and I had difficulty putting it down -- once I started an individual story. Unfortunately, about two weeks intervened between the first and second stories, since I was back to school and found myself suffering from a "little too laid back from break syndrome"-- I was not ready for the Spring semester.

I recommended another of Cunningham's books (Home at the End of the World) to a student in my creative writing class, based on a sketch he had written -- I saw a pretty close connection to Cunningham. He loved the book, and has now sought out the rest of the titles. He is reading Specimen.

Lately I have had a yearning to read more, and I am devoting more time to my teetering tower of "TBRs." I also just got Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie -- for after Whitman!
--Chiron, 1/13/07