0395 | A Home at the End of the World | Michael Cunningham

0395 | A Home at the End of the World | Michael Cunningham

Context: The second book I finished while we were staying in Port Vila, Vanuatu


Not read any Cunningham since The Hours waaaay back at review #0057 in September 2007. I enjoyed that and I enjoyed this too.

Written as viewpoints rotate chapter by chapter with each of four major characters, this is a novel about relationships. It focusses on how they form, how we define family, sexuality and roles within them and it results in the decisions we make for ourselves as a result of them. That’s pretty much what I took from the book.

I found it intriguing to see the experimental family that forms as a result of each of the three main characters pursuing a quest for liberation within relationships. This ends, kind of predictably, in going not so well for a couple of them. But it does result in a family being created for those that either never had one or those that are emotionally estranged from them. For one character in particular, this is important as his life draws to a close.

On the whole, the characters were pretty complex and I appreciated this reminder of how difficult each of us is to pin down. I thought the novel was pretty honest for its look at what happens when we a self-sacrificing to the point of self-harm. Cunningham also seems to be truthful in depicting relationships that are messy despite their liberality.

I don’t think this is a vastly important book but it is a reasonable read and I enjoyed meeting the characters he created.


Once our father bought a convertible.


“We just set out to be a family,” I told him. “We had every good intention.”

“Well,” said Burt. “Things will work out. You’ve got to have faith.”

“Faith is something they young can afford. I’ve read all the great books, and I’m not pretty anymore.”

“Whoa there,” Ned said. “If you’re not pretty I don’t know what half the men in the room have been staring at.”

“Don’t you patronize me,” I told him. “Don’t you dare. You’re welcome to resent me or despise me or feel bored silly by me, but don’t patronize me like I was some kind of little wife. It’s the one thing I won’t have. Do you hear me? Do you understand?”

Ned, without speaking, put his hand over mine to silence the tapping of my nail against the glass. I looked at his face.


I only said that, his name.


Applying makeup required all the deliberation one might bring to defusing a bomb.

One of the beauties of living in Cleveland is that any direction feels like progress.


This might give the game away. If you want to see the last line, click show


0395 | A Home at the End of the World | Cunningham | 53% | Okay

Key: Legacy | Plot / toPic | Characterisation / faCts | Readability | Achievement | Style Read more about how I come up with my ratings

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