Monday, April 9, 2012

Guest Review: By Nightfall

Author: Michael Cunningham
Reviewed by :  Purvi Shah

There are some stations in life where you want to wait a while longer and some where a short stop is all you need, and some stations where you just don't want to stop but life's train won't allow you to move forward. 
A long boring middle aged marriage could be one of those, especially if you are a beauty lover and an art critic and are looking for that perfect piece of art or that artist which can make history. To add to the musings of the mysterious mind, there's also the case of confused sexual preference.

In a story of lost and found self identity, a middle aged Peter ( though I don't follow why 44 is so passe) with his not so old, not so young wife ( somewhere in her late thirties) move around life in general. Peter finds his wife to have lost her youth (?) and busies himself in mundane everyday tasks, contemplating every now and then on the whys and hows of his life.

Enter his brother-in-law and his search for a lot of things end here. Be it in beauty or art or even love. He initially see-saws between a hate love relationship with the new found object of his desire.Yet being the so called society man that he thinks he is , he still cannot make up his mind as to what it is.

 If you are looking for a story or a plot or something to actually happen, your search is futile. Although, the frivolities of the mind are portrayed well by the author.

Set up in the suburbs around New York, and showcasing a rich vocabulary Michael Cunningham takes the reader to a joy ride of a lot of places in and around. For the uninformed it is also a window into the world of art and gives you an exact picture of what an art curator does, and how the world of art functions, along with the array of wealthy and eccentric art collectors. You would also get an insight into the lifestyle of the rich and the very rich Americans and their idiosyncratic behaviors.

Though it does nothing to the soul of the poor central character who finds himself a failure as a father, curator, art expert, and to top it up as a husband and lover by the end. All in all, a one-time read on a lazy afternoon.

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