Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Flesh and Blood - Michael Cunningham: A Review

Title: Flesh and Blood
Author: Michael Cunningham
Date Finished: November 14, 2007
Pages: 466
Rating: 4/5

I picked this book up a few years ago at a booksale after reading The Hours. While I didn't like this book as much as I did The Hours, I thought it was a good book. The book follows the Stassos family through three generations beginning with Constantine the Greek immigrant patriarch and ending with his grandchildren almost 100 years later. Hmmm, sounds like Middlesex? Perhaps--most of the story revolved around the sex lives of the characters--first the parents Constantine and Mary then their children Susan, Billy, and Zoe and finally the grandchildren. The difference? Cunningham does not tackle delicate subjects with quite as much grace as Eugenides does. Sometimes the topics were brash, but they were also written brashly.

Nevertheless, Cunningham writes characters beautifully. This is one of the things that I really admired about The Hours, and to a lesser degree this book. Perhaps because of the time-span of the book or simply what the characters go through during the book, I felt myself being drawn into their stories and becoming invested in what happened to them even though I didn't necessarily feel sympathetic to any of them until the last third of the novel. Would I recommend it? Umm...not the best book I've read this year, but I also felt really compelled to finish it all the way through. I even shed a few tears at the end of the book. Take it on at your own risk. Definitely start with The Hours, though.

2 comments:

Nymeth said...

lol, when I started reading your review I did think of Middlesex right away. Jeffrey Eugenides' level of delicacy is difficult to equal, though. But I like Michael Cunningham - I absolutely LOVED The Hours - so I definitely plan on reading this one.

Trish said...

*Nymeth - well, when I was reading this one, I was reminded of many of the same sexual themes that are present in The Hours as well. I'm not sure if this one ranks up there with The Hours (have you read Mrs. Dalloway...), but it was still good.