Excerpt from Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Specimen Days

by Michael Cunningham

Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2005, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


He said, "You are not guilty to me, nor stale nor discarded."

She put her fingertips to his cheek. "Sweet boy," she said.

He said, "Will I see you again?"

"Of course you will. I shall be right here."

"But it will not be the same."

"No. It will not be quite the same, I'm afraid."

"If only …"

She waited to hear what he would say. He waited, too. If only the machine hadn't taken Simon. If only he, Lucas, were older and healthier, with a sounder heart. If only he could marry Catherine himself. If only he could leave his body and become the dress she wore.

A silence passed, and she kissed him. She put her lips on his.

When she withdrew he said, "The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless, it is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it."

She said, "You must go home and sleep now."

It was time to leave her. There was nothing more to do or say. Still, he lingered. He felt as he sometimes did in dreams, that he was on a stage before an audience, expected to sing or recite.

She turned, took her key from her reticule, put it in the lock. "Good night," she said.

"Good night."

He stepped down. From the sidewalk he said to her retreating form, "I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise."

"Good night," she said again. And she was gone.

Excerpt from Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham. Copyright © 2005 by Mare Vaporum Corp. Published June, 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    My Name Is Leon
    by Kit De Waal
    Kit de Waal's striking debut, My Name is Leon, has inspired this big, long, complicated question: ...
  • Book Jacket: New People
    New People
    by Danzy Senna
    Danzy Senna has spent virtually her entire writing career exploring the complicated intersections of...
  • Book Jacket: Hunger
    Hunger
    by Roxane Gay
    In this penetrating and fearless memoir, author Roxane Gay discusses her battle with body acceptance...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
News of the World by Paulette Jiles

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Young Jane Young
    by Gabrielle Zevin

    From the author of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry comes a novel that will have everyone talking.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written--a story about sacrifice and motherhood.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I's A D Before D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.