Flesh and Blood



Flesh and BloodIn Flesh And Blood, Michael Cunningham Takes Us On A Masterful Journey Through Four Generations Of The Stassos Family As He Examines The Dynamics Of A Family Struggling To Come Of Age In The 20th CenturyIn 1950, Constantine Stassos, A Greek Immigrant Laborer, Marries Mary Cuccio, An Italian American Girl, And Together They Produce Three Children Susan, An Ambitious Beauty, Billy, A Brilliant Homosexual, And Zoe, A Wild Child Over The Years, A Web Of Tangled Longings, Love, Inadequacies And Unfulfilled Dreams Unfolds As Mary And Constantine S Marriage Fails And Susan, Billy, And Zoe Leave To Make Families Of Their Own Zoe Raises A Child With The Help Of A Transvestite, Billy Makes A Life With Another Man, And Susan Raises A Son Conceived In Secret, Each Extending The Meaning Of Family And Love With The Power Of A Greek Tragedy, The Story Builds To A Heartbreaking Crescendo, Allowing A Glimpse Into Contemporary Life Which Will Echo In One S Heart For Years To Come.

Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours winner of the Pen Faulkner Award Pulitzer Prize , Specimen Days, and By Nightfall, as well as the non fiction book, Land s End A Walk in Provincetown His new novel, The Snow Queen, will be published in May of 2014 He lives in New York, and teaches at Yale University.

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  • Paperback
  • 465 pages
  • Flesh and Blood
  • Michael Cunningham
  • English
  • 28 March 2017
  • 0684874318

10 thoughts on “Flesh and Blood

  1. Violet wells says:

    I can t think of much to say about this It s a novel that won t essentially do Michael Cunningham s reputation as a novelist any harm or any good The main characters in this three generational family saga interested me rather less than two of the minor characters a drag queen called Cassandra and a big hearted mixed race kid called Jamal There s a lot of soul searching too much for me and a lot of pretty writing but every day I was muchkeen to read the Muriel Spark novel I had on th I can t think of much to say about this It s a novel that won t essentially do Michael Cunningham s reputation as a novelist any harm or any good The main characters in this three generational family saga interested me rather less than two of the minor characters a drag queen called Cassandra and a big hearted mixed race kid called Jamal There s a lot of soul searching too much for me and a lot of pretty writing but every day I was muchkeen to read the Muriel Spark novel I had on the go This, in comparison, felt like a chore That said, it s pretty accomplished for a second novel

  2. Pedro says:

    After some thought, I think I might be ready for this review Right, I ve read some of Cunningham s novels before Three of them I loved two of them The third one not that much reread I loved The Hours , but A Home at the End of the World cut too deep I can feel it still, after all these years Specially when it gets really cold.I started this book with a really good feeling about it I just knew it was going to be great I could feel it The Goldfinch , I m looking at you And After some thought, I think I might be ready for this review Right, I ve read some of Cunningham s novels before Three of them I loved two of them The third one not that much reread I loved The Hours , but A Home at the End of the World cut too deep I can feel it still, after all these years Specially when it gets really cold.I started this book with a really good feeling about it I just knew it was going to be great I could feel it The Goldfinch , I m looking at you And I was right It was great Epic, dare I say So there s this family, five people No pets We follow their lives So good Cunningham does it brilliantly We love these people We are there We live the same lives The writing is just Stunning Peaceful A sense of magic it s a kind of magic, magicMagic when you re going through the pages Not magic realism, nooo It s a just a feeling Peace and fear No beginnings and no ends Everything fits, yet everything crashes There s the pain, yes But there s beauty, there s art, there s family and love New York and the sky The light and the ocean And then there s pain again And again It hurts, yes But it hurts so good

  3. Jane says:

    Everything that is trite and heavy handed in novels is present here there s an aging patriarch, kleptomania, lots of long descriptions of the way twilight moves across a neighborhood, self mutilation, child abuse, questions of immigrant identity, questions of gender identity, questions of sexual identity, a whiff of incest, death, AIDS, drug abuse, New York, the suburbs, tract housing, class conflict, shifting American demographics, paeans to urban space, roiling hatreds in families, love, gene Everything that is trite and heavy handed in novels is present here there s an aging patriarch, kleptomania, lots of long descriptions of the way twilight moves across a neighborhood, self mutilation, child abuse, questions of immigrant identity, questions of gender identity, questions of sexual identity, a whiff of incest, death, AIDS, drug abuse, New York, the suburbs, tract housing, class conflict, shifting American demographics, paeans to urban space, roiling hatreds in families, love, generational traits, generational conflict, sentences describing irrelevant objects as if they re sentient really, horror upon horror.And I loved every page of this book, deeply and truly.Cunningham s deft touch, his empathy, his love of beauty, all of them are astounding In life, I sometimes have quick moments of Rolland s oceanic feeling a sense that there is a unity and order to things, just beyond the grasp of my intellect but within the ken of my feelings.Cunningham must walk around feeling like that all of the time, except his intellect is actually up to the task Amazing Novels, even poor ones, have a hand in teaching me how to live There is something deeply moving about reading something that reminds you of the why Five stars

  4. Jemppu says:

    What an absolutely wonderful slice of life story.After having already fallen in love with Cunningham s earlier story A Home at the End of the World through adaptation, and finally reading it last year, then loving it again all the , this was a curious peek into how the writer s other work would compare Magnificently.Confirming what was already apparent in the aforementioned book, too Cunnigham s narration is remarkably lifelike and intimate with it s undramatic telling The narration lives What an absolutely wonderful slice of life story.After having already fallen in love with Cunningham s earlier story A Home at the End of the World through adaptation, and finally reading it last year, then loving it again all the , this was a curious peek into how the writer s other work would compare Magnificently.Confirming what was already apparent in the aforementioned book, too Cunnigham s narration is remarkably lifelike and intimate with it s undramatic telling The narration lives authentically in a moment, without commenting on the story s events from outside with premeditated moralities or judgements or pasted on emotions, but instead, jumping between multiple fascinatingly reflective POVs, lets the characters themselves to think and react spontaneously, live with themselves and with each other which ever way they may.All of which makes each of the separate story threads of the beautifully varied cast of individuals that muchcompelling and touching And in the process of knotting the characters together by their shared loves and losses, creating and up keeping their family ties in both good and bad, the story keeps pulling the reader, too,andinto the complicated relationships and simple realities of these people, so convincingly presented through their inner voices, with their human flaws and strengths on display.Although very similar with their lifelikeness and reflectivenessand bittersweetness , I found, that whereHomewasfocused on youthful search of self and separation, with the POV of parents own self doubts serving as a contrast to the offspring s story, here it felt the generations were truly equal equally lost in the pace of their colliding lives and own individual experiences.Yet, with all of these personalities, even at it s most tumultuous, the story exists in a pleasantly calm manner Not making a spectacle of itself.Loved this And though it can t quite beat A Home at the End of the World, I have to admit, that if there wasn t pre existing, rooted sentimentality attached to the former, this would be a tough contestant

  5. Mbarkle says:

    This is my absolute favorite kind of book It tells the story of a family over three generations, basically I love the way the author is able to show the dysfunctional nature of the family, by going into each characters head and describing their often conflicting thoughts It s very realistic in that way, one minute a person feels one way, the next minute another, and then you see how they decide to act on their feelings.I related to the story quite a bit, I am one of three siblings, born arou This is my absolute favorite kind of book It tells the story of a family over three generations, basically I love the way the author is able to show the dysfunctional nature of the family, by going into each characters head and describing their often conflicting thoughts It s very realistic in that way, one minute a person feels one way, the next minute another, and then you see how they decide to act on their feelings.I related to the story quite a bit, I am one of three siblings, born around the same time, and with many of the same issues as the characters in the novel It has all of the themes necessary for a great story, love, lust, fear, illness, loss, prejudice, comfort, addiction, peace and finally resignation.The book I kept thinking about as I read it is The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen, although I finished Flesh and Blood feeling much better than I did after The Corrections Flesh and Blood didn t leave me feeling down at all I just wanted it to last a little longer

  6. Greg Giannakis says:

    Crying in public on your bus home from work I think might be the best sign of a good book This tore me apart and felt especially relevant what with Pride season upon us No one can capture humans in all their ugliness and touching banality like Michael Cunningham does I think I felt the saddest after physically feeling myself leaving the little world and atmosphere the book created No matter how much you grasp the paperback tightly, to the point that the pages begin to warp slightly, thinking Crying in public on your bus home from work I think might be the best sign of a good book This tore me apart and felt especially relevant what with Pride season upon us No one can capture humans in all their ugliness and touching banality like Michael Cunningham does I think I felt the saddest after physically feeling myself leaving the little world and atmosphere the book created No matter how much you grasp the paperback tightly, to the point that the pages begin to warp slightly, thinking that ll accomplish everything and anything, the feelings, thoughts and impressions the story leaves you with always dissipate a bit too unremarkably for my liking

  7. Amy says:

    I hate to think that Michael Cunningham is writing the same book over and over, because really, he isn t, but this one seemed like it had his stock characters Strong, but quirky women, a gay man with some guilt over his sexuality, etc Depressing at the end Still a fairly decent book, but go pick up At Home At the End of the World for a much better read by him.

  8. Davis Aujourd& says:

    So you think you have a dysfunctional family Try this book on for size It is a fascinating tale of a family which plays out over several generations This gives the readers a real sense for how and where family dynamics come from.It is a book that will appeal to many different groups of readers Gay readers will embrace some of the affirming gay characters not to mention the endearing transvestite.This is a book that speaks about love and forgiveness This lends the book a spiritual dimension So you think you have a dysfunctional family Try this book on for size It is a fascinating tale of a family which plays out over several generations This gives the readers a real sense for how and where family dynamics come from.It is a book that will appeal to many different groups of readers Gay readers will embrace some of the affirming gay characters not to mention the endearing transvestite.This is a book that speaks about love and forgiveness This lends the book a spiritual dimension I especially appreciated that since I am the author of a spiritually themed novel I am always on the outlook for books that uplift my spirit While this book will try your emotions, it ends on a hopeful note.If you liked The Hours, you will love this book too The author writes prose as if it was poetry He also has an uncanny knack for developing characters that are easy to relate to whether or not you can relate to the conditions of their lives This book is a powerhouse I didn t want to put it down.Davis Aujourd hui, author of The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude

  9. James says:

    Another stunning novel from one of America s greatest writers.Having being a huge lover of The Hours, both the novel and the adaptation, I m unsure why it took me so long to get round to reading Flesh Blood Cunningham writes of life, and all of its complexities, like no other, whilst crafting beautiful, sparing prose I couldn t recommend Flesh Blood , should you like to read fiction that explores the human psyche in the context of a family unit, and all of the spaces and emotions in be Another stunning novel from one of America s greatest writers.Having being a huge lover of The Hours, both the novel and the adaptation, I m unsure why it took me so long to get round to reading Flesh Blood Cunningham writes of life, and all of its complexities, like no other, whilst crafting beautiful, sparing prose I couldn t recommend Flesh Blood , should you like to read fiction that explores the human psyche in the context of a family unit, and all of the spaces and emotions in between

  10. Ed says:

    Flesh and Blood is another masterful work by Michael Cunningham, an incredibly gifted writer Last year I read A Home at the End of the World, the author s first novel I absolutely loved it Though I have not read his Pulitzer Prize winning The Hours, I have seen the movie based on the book several times it is one of my all time favorite films This book written between the two others just mentioned is nothing short of superb.The novel told from the third person POV chronicles three generation Flesh and Blood is another masterful work by Michael Cunningham, an incredibly gifted writer Last year I read A Home at the End of the World, the author s first novel I absolutely loved it Though I have not read his Pulitzer Prize winning The Hours, I have seen the movie based on the book several times it is one of my all time favorite films This book written between the two others just mentioned is nothing short of superb.The novel told from the third person POV chronicles three generations of the Stassos family beginning in post World War II America Constantine Stassos, a Greek immigrant, marries Mary Cuccio, a striking young woman of Italian heritage Early in their marriage trouble develops and Mary soon feels she has married below her station Things rapidly spiral downward in their relationship They have three children Susan, the oldest, like her mother is very attractive ironically she pays a heavy price for her natural beauty Her father has the disturbing habit of touching her often and for too long, suggesting sexual cravings for her While outwardly she seems the most conventional and successful of the children, below the surface she is quite unhappy Billy, the brightest of the three, has a stormy relationship with his father even as a young boy their relationship becomes especially ugly when he announces he is gay The younger daughter Zoe is wild, rebellious and reckless It becomes obvious she is destined to have a troubled future Add to the mix the romantic relationships of the adult children as well as the next generation of the Stassos family, Ben and Jamal Each character adds further depth, darkness and occasional humor to the story Especially memorable and endearing is Cassandra, a drag queen and Zoe s close friend.The story takes place over nearly five decades, from 1949 through 1995 In addition there is a three page snippet of Constantine s childhood at the beginning as well as a two page conclusion that looks to the distant future 2035 The two brief chapters act as interesting and effective bookmarks for the main story.Cunningham covers a broad range of issues in the book a heavy handed patriarch, an aloof mother, love, death, infidelity, incest, child abuse, drug abuse, kleptomania, generational tension, homosexuality, AIDS, self mutilation, class conflict, and so muchI like many people have often thought that I came from a dysfunctional family The Stassos family takes that concept to a whole new level.Cunningham is a master of prose, creating rich, complex characters and vivid images with his words The tone of the book is one of melancholy and tragedy There are no real villains or heroes but rather a cast of characters all with their own flaws The book took me a longer than normal time to read not because it was dull or difficult Rather I was captivated throughout the story and hated coming to the last page I wanted to savor the work and not rush through it I look forward to readingof Cunningham s works He has quickly become one of my favorite authors

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