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A Novel

by Michael Cunningham

Day by Michael Cunningham X
Day by Michael Cunningham
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  • Published Nov 2023
    288 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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  • Milda S. (Warwick, NY)
    Day After Day
    On a chilly April morning in a Brooklyn Brownstone, a family awakes to face another day. Dan,the husband, starts making coffee while Isabel, his wife gets ready for work. Isabella's brother, Robbie, joins Dan in the kitchen until it is time to wake up Nathan and Violet (the children). Isabel sits on the stairs avoiding all of them.

    Isabel recalls being introduced to Dan by Robbie. As the three became friends, Dan fell in love with Isabel and asked her to marry him. Isabel had doubts but finally said yes. At first everything was fine but then the children were born and money became tight. Dan's dream of being a successful musician crashed and this led to drugs and recovery. Isabel is tired of struggling.

    Isabel worries as Dan continues to write songs. Robbie wants to go to med school and hopes that they will honor the admission to med school that he received years ago. Meanwhile, he writes a blog about the adventures of a successful character named Wolfe that is followed by 35,000 readers. As Isabel reads the blog she thinks about how kind and funny Robbie can be. He pays attention to Dan and listens to his songs. He also plays and listens to Violet's worries and Nathan's problems.

    Today he is moving out to his own apartment. What Isabel doesn't realize is that Robbie is the glue that is holding the family together as she falls apart.

    Ambulance sirens are the voices of the night, hospitals are full and people are dying. Pandemic lock-down becomes the norm. The family in the brownstone are locked in together. They can no longer escape to school or work. It is difficult to find a spot to be alone. Violet is paranoid about keeping the windows closed.

    Robbie has quit his job and gone on vacation to Iceland where he writes his blog and letters to his family. He is alone when the Pandemic lock-down arrives.

    DAY unfolds slowly with deep understanding and compassion. There are many reasons why this family is breaking apart and no one is to blame. When the hopes and dreams of the young meet the challenges of life, without true love, there is no future.
  • Patty S. (Towson, MD)
    A Day in Some Lives
    I have been a fan of Michael Cunningham ever since I read Home at the End of the World, one of his earliest books. Day did not disappoint. The day of April 5th is used to tell the story of a family as they change and grow through the years 2019 through 2022.
    His ability to write characters the reader cares about from the very beginning is, I believe, one of his gifts. He allows them to tell their stories. I laughed and I cried and I was sorry to get to the end of the book.
  • M K. (Minneapolis, MN)
    This is a a gorgeously written book using the Covid-19 pandemic as a way to talk about how we can figure out who we are in an ever changing world that infiltrates our lives with calamities that we can't control and those that we can. The novel is deliciously claustrophobic, taking us inside the many faceted layers of our lives, our thoughts and feelings about who we are, and the distance between that and the way that we live. It's not an easy book to inhabit because many of the issues that the novel brings forth are unsettling, and yet, for many of us, their experience of the pandemic was not that different from our own lives.
  • KarenS
    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel!
    I would like to thank BookBrowse and Penguin Random House for an Advanced Readers Copy of Day in exchange for an honest review.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! I loved the format, three sections, April 5th, 2019,introducing us to the family. April 5th, 2020, the pandemic section. And April 5th, 2021, the aftermath of the pandemic. At first, I was apprehensive about going there. I was thinking, is it too early to revisit this incredibly stressful time? But just one paragraph into section two, April 5th, 2020, and I was totally in!
    I was so invested in the family. I especially loved the section when Robbie was with the children, Nathan and especially Violet. I just loved Violet!
    The prose was so beautiful, and I found myself rereading sentences just because they were so beautiful!
    I look forward to seeing the author at my local independent bookstore event in November.
  • Mark S
    Unorthodox Couples
    I read this book in 3 morning, one afternoon and one evening. It is exquisitely written with the most beautiful almost poetic descriptions of both surroundings and people. This author has an uncanny way of describing the ordinary everyday feelings and thought of his characters and their relationships. Yes, they are conflicted, questioning, sometimes desperate imperfect people, yet real. The specter of disaster floats through this novel increasing as "the day" progresses, yet does end with a ray of hope. It is a novel worth re-reading.
  • Claire M. (Wrentham, MA)
    Virtuoso Art
    Day: A Novel delivers on so many levels it seems to effortlessly fall onto the page. With poetry and skill Michael Cunningham's writing draws the reader into the extended family of Isabel and Dan, revealing the intimate concerns of each family member. Navigating the space of the home shared with their two children and Isabel's twin brother Rob we absorb one innocuous April day, in the before times. There are undertones of change within the family group, unsettled rumblings that manifest in unexpected change the following year, the pandemic year of lockdown, and in the hopeful emergence in 2021. Through changes and choices within one extended family, Cunningham depicts the rippling effects of pandemic life in sentences unfolding with of the ache of love and longing. Unforgettable.
  • Susan W. (Berkley, MI)
    What happens if you can't overcome loss
    This is definitely not a book for someone looking for fast paced action or adventure. Day is a book of character development that is, at times, excruciatingly slow. I appreciated the book taking place over three years; it allowed the author to skip over a lot of unnecessary details in family dynamics. For me, personally, it was painful to relive the period of the Pandemic so soon. However, that did intensify so much in the lives of the characters. While I was reading, I occasionally wondered if all of characters were necessary, but by the end of the book, I could not imagine removing any of them.

    This book made me feel too sad. I guess that sounds simplistic, but I can't shake that feeling, especially because I usually have a favorite character at the end of the book, and with Day, I find I don't have one. I also have a feeling of overwhelming loss. I can't stop thinking about the children in the story, wondering what life will be like for them.


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