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Flesh and Blood       Hardcover : 465 pages
Published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux
April 1, 1995
Flesh and Blood       Paperback : 480 pages
Published by Touchstone
May 22, 1996
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Flesh and Blood

Paperback: 480 pages
Published by Picador
April 2007

In 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 century.

In 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.

   »   Read an Excerpt




Reviews for Flesh and Blood:
Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times:
"One of our very best writers . . . has produced a work of dramatic humanity at a high and poetic level."

Charles Gander, Vogue:
"Call in sick, unplug the telephone, and pray that Hollywood doesn't botch the movie."

Tony Kushner:
"Michael Cunningham is a writer possessed of a contemplative, grieving, empathetic consciousness, utterly unique in contemporary fiction . . . A very great gift from a greatly gifted writer."

The New York Times Book Review:
A "wonderful . . . sprawling, old-fashioned novel."

Kelli Pryor, Entertainment Weekly:
"In Cunningham's achingly accurate novel, we witness 100 years of family life through the eyes of three generations founded on the American dream of Greek immigrant Constantine . . . These are not the Kodak moments that would have inspired Constantine to get out the Super-8. But they ring true, heartbreakingly true, and beautiful in a way no camera could capture."

George Hodgman, Vanity Fair:
"The book buzzcuts like Edward Scissorhands through the conventionally dull pastures of the American family saga."

Publishers Weekly:
"His prose is rich, graceful, and luminous, and he exhibits a remarkable maturity of vision and understanding of the human condition. Cunningham illuminates the chasm between parents and children in contemporary America . . . A transcendent testament to the power of human endurance."

Benjamin Cheever, Details:
"Flesh and Blood is a triumph."

A. M. Homes, Elle:
"Generous and bittersweet, Flesh and Blood explores the confusions and contradictions of love and attachment—the ethereal connections that term us related. With graceful and melancholy clarity, Cunningham illuminates our perpetual need to redefine the family in the face of damage done by good intentions gone awry, and explores the complex desires that cause us to fail each other and ourselves."

Bruce Barcott, Seattle Weekly:
"Flesh and Blood is the real thing—a novel about an American family surviving an American half-century that manages to be terrifically engaging and delicately written and heartfelt at the same time."

US magazine:
"Stunning . . . In precise and beautiful prose, he explores the desire for connection and the knowledge that most of the time we remain adrift."

Matthew Gilbert, The Boston Globe:
"Reading Michael Cunningham is like putting on see-through glasses. He's got this way of exposing his characters' deepest inclinations and motivations, letting us peer through glass directly into their souls."

Mirabella:
"Masterful . . . Crosses emotional and sexual boundaries, with rare humanity and art."

Laura Mathews, Glamour:
"Cunningham's story is not just good—it's great . . . A wonderful ballet of cross-generational strife . . . It would be as misleading to label this a gay novel as it would be to label Anna Karenina a Russian aristocrat saga."

Ronald Reed, Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
"Call Flesh and Blood a soap opera for people who value intelligent and subtle writing . . . The telling has such grace and style that even the most predictable event catches one off guard. This is a superior novel."

Wendy Smith, Cleveland Plain Dealer:
"Without ever glossing over the often irreparable harm people do to those they love, this thoughtful novel reminds us that in the end, the love is more important than the harm."

Dwight Garner, Harper's Bazaar:
"Voluptuous . . . this elegiac meditation on anger, mistrust, and loneliness has a ferocious perceptiveness that puts Cunningham on another level as an artist."

Owen Keehnen, Men's Style:
"Flesh and Blood is nothing short of literary genius."

Library Journal:
"The story of Constantine Stassos freshly examines the American immigrant experience and conflict between generations . . . Thoroughly realized action, vivid character delineation, and the splendid control of language guarantee both the unity and powerful impact of this successful novel."