A Year in Reading: Michael Cunningham

December 16, 2010 | 2 books mentioned 2


My big project over the last year has been (finally) reading Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, about which nothing really need be said. I have, however, taken periodic Proust breaks and read novels that don’t require 10,000 hours of uninterrupted attention.

covercoverI could list a dozen or more good novels I’ve read, but a particular favorite was Emma Donoghue’s Room, which concerns a young woman and her five-year-old son who are kept captive by a psychopath in a single room. It’s amazing what Donoghue is able to do within that tiny physical space. If we were worried (and I don’t think we should be) about a lack of originality and ambition in contemporary novels, here’s one that conjures an enormous story out of simple, even miniature, circumstances. I also tremendously enjoyed a young adult novel called The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, which imagines a future world in which children are selected to fight to the death, for a vast TV audience. It’s well-written, completely engrossing, and involves a kick-ass girl who never needs to be rescued by the boys. What’s not to like about that?

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is the author of the novels By Nightfall, A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of a PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize), and Specimen Days. He lives in New York.