Day: A Novel (Hardcover)
November 2023 Indie Next List
“This story takes place on the same day, but during three consecutive years. A family — father, mother, mother’s brother, and two children — is breaking apart. Their nuanced, subtle interior lives are remarkably portrayed. This one is a gem.”
— Jude Sales, Readers' Books, Sonoma, CA
NATIONAL BESTELLER • A “quietly stunning” (Ocean Vuong) exploration of love and loss, the struggles and limitations of family life—and how we all must learn to live together and apart—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Hours
“Along with George Eliot, Michael Cunningham belongs in that rare group of novelists who hold the world close, with apparently infinite respect, compassion, and tenderness, all while describing the world and its inhabitants unsparingly.”—Tony Kushner
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS’ CHOICE • A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: NPR, Harper’s Bazaar, Chicago Public Library, Kirkus Reviews
April 5, 2019: In a cozy brownstone in Brooklyn, the veneer of domestic bliss is beginning to crack. Dan and Isabel, husband and wife, are slowly drifting apart—and both, it seems, are a little bit in love with Isabel’s younger brother, Robbie. Robbie, wayward soul of the family, who still lives in the attic loft; Robbie, who, trying to get over his most recent boyfriend, is living vicariously through a glamorous avatar online; Robbie, who now has to move out of the house—and whose departure threatens to break the family apart. And then there is Nathan, age ten, taking his first uncertain steps toward independence, while his sister, Violet, five, does her best not to notice the growing rift between her parents.
April 5, 2020: As the world goes into lockdown, the cozy brownstone is starting to feel more like a prison. Violet is terrified of leaving the windows open, obsessed with keeping her family safe. Isabel and Dan communicate mostly in veiled sleights and frustrated sighs. And dear Robbie is stranded in Iceland, alone in a mountain cabin with nothing but his thoughts—and his secret Instagram life—for company.
April 5, 2021: Emerging from the worst of the crisis, the family reckons with a new, very different reality—and with what they’ve learned, what they’ve lost, and how they might go on.
About the Author
Michael Cunningham is a novelist, screenwriter, and educator. His novel The Hours received the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1999. He has taught at Columbia University and Brooklyn College. He is currently a professor in the practice at Yale University.
“Along with George Eliot, Michael Cunningham belongs in that rare group of novelists who hold the world close, with apparently infinite respect, compassion, and tenderness, all while describing the world and its inhabitants unsparingly. Day is a portrait of the life of a family, preceding, during, and immediately after the pandemic, rendered in fragments, almost as if assembling forensic evidence, not of a crime but of quiet tragedies and quiet, heroic endurance. There’s deep recognition here, bordering on revelation.”—Tony Kushner
“Michael Cunningham, the perennial master of rendering the quotidian with a profound and deeply considered eye for human frailty, returns with a book that exemplifies the hallmarks of his style: lush, erudite, voracious in its seeking. Like a true poet, he remakes the world in his descriptions, freshened with care and compassion and tinged with the radiant heat of grief. What a quietly stunning achievement.”—Ocean Vuong
“Michael Cunningham writes such eloquent, seductive sentences that we have to keep reminding ourselves to step back and pay attention to his appealing, dimensional characters and to his generous vision of childhood and adulthood, of work and love, of the pleasures and griefs of family life, and of all the rich complexities of being human.”—Francine Prose
“Only a writer with Michael Cunningham’s singular gifts could imagine a novel that speaks so urgently to our time while also achieving that rare quality of timelessness. A feat of exceptional beauty and balance, Day captures the ongoing dilemma of existing, willingly and unwillingly, within a family.”—Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
“Day is a novel about the collisions of love within our days. Michael Cunningham crafts a glorious sentence, and at the same time he tells an achingly compelling story that speaks precisely to the times we live in. And it all flows so damn gorgeously that at times you just want to suspend the sacred day itself and hold it close, never let it, or the characters, go.”—Colum McCann
“In Day, Michael Cunningham displays his great gift for creating memorable characters, for noticing the world in all its oddness and beauty, for writing about love and loss in tones that are both unsparing and tender.”—Colm Tóibín
“Cunningham is one of our great American writers, and here is another masterpiece. Day shows all his extraordinary gifts of epic sweep and intricate detail, lyrical language and plain hard words, memory and imagination, love and hope and loss. It does what only great books can do. Read it and be changed.”—Andrew Sean Greer
“Few writers capture the crazy contradictions of modern life with as much clarity and wisdom as Michael Cunningham. Day glows beauty and energy; its characters slip off the page and into your life.”—Tash Aw