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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

At Home at the End of the World (1990) by Michael Cunningham


Book Review
At Home at the End of the World (1990)
 by Michael Cunningham


   At Home at the End of the World is a combination of a gay coming-of-age book and a contemporary relationship novel.  Each chapter is voiced in the first person by a different narrator.  The narrator rotates between the three main characters: Bobby, Jonathan and Clare with occasional appearances from Jonathan's mom.  The main childhood friendship is between Jonathan- essentially the main character and author stand in, Bobby- his straight friend, and Clare, who is the type of woman one might call a "fag hag" - in a non pejorative sense, of course.  

   Although these characters are 20 or so years older than I am, I recognized all of them, from the parents on down, as being accurate portrayals of urbanites in the late 1980's.   Unlike other gay-friendly lit titles from this time period, At Home at the End of the World explicitly deals with the AIDS crisis through the travails of a minor character who none the less features prominently in the unexpected resolution of the book.

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