This book, by Michael Cunningham, first published in 1990, took the author six years to write and took me just two days to read on my kindle. It was a slow-paced, but never draggy read. In the words of the Los Angeles Times reviewer’s words, “We come to know [Johnathan, Bobby, and Clare] as if we lived with them, yet each one retains the mystery called…soul and in fiction is called art.” The novel redefines the concept of “family” and gives us an inside look at the AIDS epidemic, perhaps assigning the reader a new compassion for those personally affected by it. It deals with the commonplace but “makes the familiar strange and the strange familiar” (Ciardi) , giving this reader a whole new insight on the era.
One person whose outcome I was totally satisfied with was Alice, Johnathan’s mother. She was an unsatisfied, unhappy woman, trapped in a loveless marriage, then a widow, during the course of the novel. Although the ending, for all the characters, was not a totally happy one, this reader found it a satisfying conclusion to the life questions and personal quests of the three major characters. In all, it was a good read.