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Specimen Days

Cunningham, Michael

4,840 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0374299625 / ISBN 13: 9780374299620
Published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York, 2005
Used Condition: Near Fine Hard Cover
From Black Falcon Books (Wellesley, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First edition, 2005, stated; first printing, full number line. Inscribed, signed, and dated by the author on the half-title page: "To Donna / Peace, / Michael Cunningham / June 4, 2005." The author's well-received followup to the prize-winning "The Hours." Book is tight, square, and unmarked; corners sharp, spine ends lightly bumped. The dust jacket is not price-clipped (original price $25.00). Brodart protected. Bookseller Inventory # 002975

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Specimen Days

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

One of the most anticipated novels of 2005 from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ?The Hours?.

?Specimen Days? is three linked visionary narratives about the relationship between man and machine. The first narrative, a ghost story set at the height of the Industrial Revolution, tells the story of man-eating machines. An ecstatic boy, barely embodied in the physical world, speaks in the voice of the great visionary poet Walt Whitman. He works at an oppressive factory connected to the making of a mysterious substance with some universal function and on which the world's economy somehow depends. The slight boy can barely operate the massive machine which speaks to him in the voice of his devoured brother. A woman who was to have married the brother is now the object of obsessive interest by the boy. In a city in which all are mastered by the machine, the boy is convinced that the woman must be saved before she too is devoured.

This grisly but ultimately transformative story establishes three main characters who will appear, reincarnated, in the other two sections of this startling modern novel. The boy, the man and the woman are each in search of some sort of transcendence as is made manifest by the recurrence of the words of Whitman (?It avails not, neither distance nor place?I am with you, and know how it is?). In part two, a noir thriller set in the early years of our current century, the city is at threat from maniacal bombers, while the third and last part plays with the sci-fi genre, taking our characters centuries into the future. The man who was devoured by a machine in part one is now literally a machine ? a robot who becomes fully human before our eyes. The woman is a refugee from another part of the universe, a warrior in her native land but a servant on this planet.

?Specimen Days? is a genre-bending, haunting ode to life itself ? a work of surpassing power and beauty by one of the most original and daring writers at work today.

Product Description:

In each section of Michael Cunningham's bold new novel, his first since "The Hours," we encounter the same group of characters: a young boy, an older man, and a young woman. "In the Machine" is a ghost story that takes place at the height of the industrial revolution, as human beings confront the alienating realities of the new machine age. "The Children's Crusade," set in the early twenty-first century, plays with the conventions of the noir thriller as it tracks the pursuit of a terrorist band that is detonating bombs, seemingly at random, around the city. The third part, "Like Beauty," evokes a New York 150 years into the future, when the city is all but overwhelmed by refugees from the first inhabited planet to be contacted by the people of Earth.

Presiding over each episode of this interrelated whole is the prophetic figure of the poet Walt Whitman, who promised his future readers, "It avails not, neither time or place . . . I am with you, and know how it is." "Specimen Days" is a genre-bending, haunting, and transformative ode to life in our greatest city and a meditation on the direction and meaning of America's destiny. It is a work of surpassing power and beauty by one of the most original and daring writers at work today.

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