|Reviews of A Wild Swan and Other Tales:|
"[Cunningham] can’t help but write movingly, even as he’s setting fire to our most cherished childhood texts. This book is studded with unexpected moments of grace.”
"Delicious, shivery, sophisticated fairy stories as spat from the pen of a Pulitzer Prize–winning author. 'Most of us are safe,' Cunningham writes in his astonishing preface. 'If you’re not a delirious dream the gods are having, if your beauty doesn’t trouble the constellations, nobody’s going to cast a spell on you.' But Cunningham will, and does. In a market oversaturated by reworked fairy tales, his are the best."
“A rollicking and memorable tribute to stories we know.. . . [Cunningham’s] prose brings back much of the original swagger and sharpness. . . . [He] is extremely funny and psychologically observant. . . . Beautiful, imaginative illustrations by Yuko Shimizu, complement the stories, spurring the feeling that this is not just a book to read, but also a special object.”
"[Cunningham] travels farthest from fairy-tale origins while plumbing most fully into their emotional depths in the touching stories."
“Readers will savor Cunningham’s wise, generous musings about (superbly) recognizable types”
"A Wild Swantakes the heroes of the brutal fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson and tips them off their pedestals."
"Cunningham’s stories resonate deliciously with the reader’s memories, casting new spells while releasing old ones from dormancy.”
|Reviews of The Snow Queen:|
“Regardless of your theological position on signs and wonders, that voice, Cunningham’s inimitable style, is the real miracle of The Snow Queen. Sentence by sentence . . . he moves across the surface of these pages like some suave, literary god. His portrayal of the once-blessed Meeks brothers, raised in expectation of fame and riches they’ll never attain—not even close—is full of affecting pathos.”
“[T]he pursuit of transcendence in all kinds of forms—music, drugs, a McQueen minidress, and those things less tangible but no less powerfully felt—drives Michael Cunningham's best novel in more than a decade, The Snow Queen.”
“Cunningham weaves an ode to the immortal city of New York and its artistic souls and lost citizens. His books remind us that the mythologies we imagine about our lives stem from seemingly ordinary moments and seemingly ordinary people . . . With elegant prose that peeks into the most private thoughts of his characters, Cunningham challenges the reader to imagine a pervasive, indifferent god—if any god even exists.”
Reviews of By Nightfall:
“The novel is less a snapshot of the way we live now than a consideration of the timeless consolations of love and art in the shadow of death, and its resolution—inevitable yet startling, like the slap of a wave—is a triumph.”
“Rather witty and a little outrageous . . . for pure, elegant, efficient beauty, Cunningham is astounding. He’s developed this captivating narrative voice that mingles his own sharp commentary with Peter’s mock-heroic despair. Half Henry James, half James Joyce, but all Cunningham, it’s an irresistible performance, cerebral and campy, marked by stabbing moments of self-doubt immediately undercut by theatrical asides and humorous quips. . . a cerebral, quirky reflection on the allure of phantom ideals and even, ultimately, on what a traditional marriage needs to survive.”
“[Cunningham] makes you turn the pages. He tells a story here, but not too much a story. You aren’t deadened by detail; you’re eager to know what happens next.”
Reviews of The Hours:
"The overall impression is that of a delicate, triumphant glance, an acknowledgement of Woolf that takes her into Cunningham's own territory, a place of late-century danger but also of treasurable hours."
"An exquisitely written, kaleidoscopic work that anchors a floating postmodern world on pre-modern caissons of love, grief and transcendent longing."
"[Cunningham] has deftly created something original, a trio of richly interwoven tales that alternate with one another chapter by chapter, each of them entering the thoughts of a character as she moves through the small details of a day . . . Cunningham's emulation of such a revered writer as Woolf is courageous, and this is his most mature and masterful work."
Reviews of A Home at the End of the World:
"Novels don't come more deeply felt than Michael Cunningham's extraordinary four-character study . . . The writing [is] a constant pleasure, flowing and yet dense with incisive images and psychological nuance."
"Cunningham writes with power and delicacy . . . We come to feel that we know Jonathan, Bobby, and Clare as if we lived with them; yet each one retains the mystery that in people is called soul, and in fiction is called art."
"Once in a great while, there appears a novel so spellbinding in its beauty and sensitivity that the reader devours it nearly whole, in greedy gulps, and feels stretched sore afterwards, having been expanded and filled. Such a book is Michael Cunningham's A Home at the End of the World."
Reviews of Flesh and Blood:
"One of our very best writers . . . has produced a work of dramatic humanity at a high and poetic level."
"Call in sick, unplug the telephone, and pray that Hollywood doesn't botch the movie."
"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."