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Extended Audio Sample Specimen Days: A Novel, by Michael Cunningham Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,193 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Cunningham Narrator: Alan Cumming Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In each section of Michael Cunningham’s bold new novel, we encounter the same group of characters: a young boy, an older man, and a young woman. “In the Machine” is a ghost story which takes place at the height of the Industrial Revolution, as human beings confront the alienated realities of the new machine age. “The Children’s Crusade”, set in the early 21st century, plays with the conventions of the noir thriller as it tracks the pursuit of a terrorist band which 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.

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

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Caty | 2/9/2014

    " Giving the man who mangled Virginia Woolf one more chance. Industrial revolution historical novel AND future dystopia in the same book? Bring it on. We'll see. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jesse | 1/25/2014

    " I reallllly like Michael Cunningham's writing. he is incredibly ambitious, but his writing seems effortless and is really beautiful, regardless of what he's writing about. I really liked the second story of this what i guess i'd call a genre mash-up? and i knew the stories were already linked up, so i wasn't too concerned or feel it too heavy handed when there were actual linking objects and ideas from each story in addition to general themes. i think MC is a keen observer of emotions, people and i guess humanity. or at least some of the humanity i hang out with. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Tom Kulesa | 1/21/2014

    " Noble experiment. Some interesting stuff. Ultimately I couldn't connect to this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Beverly | 1/18/2014

    " Michael Cunningham may be the best prose stylist writing fiction today. Yet the shimmering beauty of his prose is wasted on a world view that borders on nihilistic. Specimen Days, named for a work by Walt Whitman, traces the decline and extinction of humanity from the industrial age, where men and their lives are eaten by machines, through the present where children are turned into monsterous killing machines, to the future where humananity is gone and all that is left on earth is a humanoid cybourg and a dead alien bioform. Man has become machine. Throughout the 3 sections (past, present, and future), Cunningham uses Whitman's celebration of man and nature to contrast with the creeping death of humanity. The writing, the structure of this novel amounts to a tour de force. The message, not so much. "

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