Prophetic poet Walt Whitman presides over each interlinked episode in a visionary novel set in the city of New York, featuring the same group of characters--a young boy, an older man, and a young woman--that range from "In the Machine," which takes place at the height of the Industrial Revolution, through the twenty-first-century "Children's Crusade," to "Like Beauty," set in a city of the future. 500,000 first printing
SPECIMEN DAYS was the title of Walt Whitman's autobiography, written in 1882. Michael Cunningham's work of fiction, bearing the same title, consists of three novellas set in Whitman's New York City, all of which evoke the poet in some way. "In the Machine," which takes place during Whitman's time, is about a boy named Lucas who is obsessed with both his dead brother's girlfriend and Whitman's poetry. "The Children's Crusade" is a contemporary thriller involving a group of suicide bombers--one of whom is named Luke--who are terrorizing Manhattan. "Like Beauty" is a sci-fi story about an alien and a teenage visionary (Luke again) who live in a post-apocalyptic New York plagued by reptilian alien refugees from another planet. Like his phenomenally successful THE HOURS, Cunningham's novel tells three very different but interconnected stories.
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- June 7, 2005
- June 7, 2005
- Michael Cunningham