By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham
A Novel

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Synopsis

Peter and Rebecca Harris: mid-forties denizens of Manhattan's SoHo, nearing the apogee of committed careers in the arts--he a dealer, she an editor. With a spacious loft, a college-age daughter in Boston, and lively friends, they are admirable, enviable contemporary urbanites with every reason, it seems, to be happy. Then Rebecca's much younger look-alike brother, Ethan (known in thefamily as Mizzy, "the mistake"), shows up for a visit. A beautiful, beguiling twenty-three-year-old with a history of drug problems, Mizzy is wayward, at loose ends, looking for direction. And in his presence, Peter finds himself questioning his artists, their work, his career--the entire world he has so carefully constructed.

Like his legendary, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Hours, Michael Cunningham's masterly new novel is a heartbreaking look at the way we live now. Full of shocks and aftershocks, it makes us think and feel deeply about the uses and meaning of beauty and the place of love in our lives.

 

About Michael Cunningham

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Michael Cunningham is the author of five novels, including By Nightfall, A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize), and Specimen Days. He lives in New York.
 
Published September 28, 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 249 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Gay & Lesbian. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for By Nightfall

The New York Times

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In this novel, the arrival of the wife’s gorgeous and unreliable younger brother wreaks havoc on a New York couple’s marriage.

Oct 01 2010 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

The Guardian

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Cunningham is clearly familiar with this specialised, ultra-civilised jungle territory, and he has a good time – funny, knowing, but not too obviously satirical – with rich patrons, artists on the make, experimental shows and rival gallery owners.

Jan 14 2011 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

The Guardian

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Cunningham is a gay writer who wants, as so many of us do, to achieve a mainstream readership – he succeeded with The Hours – but here he stacks the odds against himself.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

BC Books

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His Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours mirrored the stream-of-consciousness technique used by Virginia Woolf in Mrs. Dalloway, while describing a day in the life of three different women, living at different times, who were affected by that novel.

May 05 2011 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

AV Club

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By Nightfall is more wrenching mood piece than tightly plotted novel, though perhaps that’s to be expected from author Michael Cunningham, most famous for the Pulitzer Prize-winner The Hours.

Oct 21 2010 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author (The Hours) returns with By Nightfall, a portrait of a middle-aged married man, Soho art dealer Peter Harris, who loves his wife Rebecca even as his heart is sent tumbling by the sudden presence of her younger, troubled brother in their comfortable lives.

Sep 22 2010 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Times Book Critic Illustration to go with the review of the book 'By Nightfall'… (Owen Freeman / For The Times ) By Nightfall Michael Cunningham Farrar, Straus and Giroux Revolving around Peter and Rebecca Harris — fortysomething aesthetes in Manhattan's SoHo, he an art deale...

Oct 24 2010 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

The Washington Post

What are we to make of Michael Cunningham's horny new novel about the power of beauty to rouse us from ennui?

Oct 06 2010 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

The Telegraph

“Goddam the world.” The book plays out with a kind of icy dreaminess against a backdrop of sumptuous flats, vast warehouse studios and faux-castles, as Peter struggles with his surprising feelings.

Jan 27 2011 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

The Telegraph

Michael Cunningham’s fifth novel, By Nightfall, follows the same formula as his breakthrough novel, The Hours, offering soap-opera given gravitas through recurring references to English literature classics.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

Dallas News

The orderly lives of an affluent middle-aged New York couple, Peter Harris, an art dealer, and his wife, Rebecca, a magazine editor, are undone by the arrival of Rebecca's itinerant younger brother, Ethan, known as Mizzy - as in "the mistake."

Oct 31 2010 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

Oregon Live

"You're a kind man," a friend tells Peter Harris, the main character in "By Nightfall," Michael Cunningham's exquisitely written, taut and tense new novel.

Oct 23 2010 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

Review (Barnes & Noble)

By 23—the same age at which Peter's brother died—Mizzy has not only dropped out of college (Yale), but has also attempted to find and lose himself in drugs and far-flung travel.

Sep 29 2010 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

The New Yorker

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Nov 15 2010 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

Lambda Literary

Peter isn’t quite sure what he will do if he fails to get Groff, “and he settles, quite possibly for good … into a career of determined semidefeat, a champion of the overlooked and the almost-but-not-quite.” But the piece, an odd marriage of ancient and modern, fits beautifully in the garden, le...

Sep 09 2010 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

The Paris Review

When I depict love and marriage in a novel, it’s always a particular marriage, between two (or more) people who love or fail to love in their own, idiosyncratic, human ways.

Oct 14 2010 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

Statesman.com

And Mizzy is trouble, or potential trouble, for Peter and Rebecca because Mizzy is Rebecca's "lost little brother," a supposedly rehabilitated drug addict.

Oct 02 2010 | Read Full Review of By Nightfall: A Novel

Reader Rating for By Nightfall
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