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By Nightfall (Anglais) Broché – 1 septembre 2011

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Revue de presse

Praise for Michael Cunningham

A genius Tim Lott

One of our very best writers. Los Angeles Times

Praise for The Hours

The Hours is a book which heightens the perception of the reader. Cunningham s craftmanship is overwhelming. Robert Farren, Independent on Sunday

An extremely moving, original and memorable novel. Hermione Lee, TLS

Engrossing, imaginative and humane. Richard Francis, Observer

--Los Angeles Times and the Observer --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Présentation de l'éditeur

From the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Hours an astonishing novel about desire, love and beauty set in contemporary New York.
Peter and Rebecca Harris: mid-forties, denizens of Manhattan s SoHo, nearing the apogee of committee careers in the arts he a dealer, she an editor. With a spacious loft, a college-age daughter in Boston, and lively friends, they are admirable, enviable contemporary urbanites with every reason, it seems, to be happy. Until Rebecca s much younger, look-alike brother, Ethan (known in the family as Mizzy, the mistake ), comes to visit.
By Nightfall allows us to understand Peter s life from the inside as he comes to question everything about his carefully constructed world. This poetic and compelling masterpiece is a heartbreaking look at the way we live now. Full of shocks and after shocks, By Nightfall is a novel about the uses and meaning of beauty, and the place of love in our lives.

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Format: Broché
plaisir de l'écriture , c'est le 3ème roman de cet auteur que je lis et je " savoure " littéralement chaque phrase ! maintenant je dois avouer qu'une fois la lecture terminée , j'ai mis 2 ou3jours à m'en remettre tant il s'en dégage une vison pessimiste de l'existence : le narrateur n'a pmourtant quez 44 ans et moi, 63 !!
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Format: Broché
Un roman à l'écriture moderne et dynamique, où les métaphores sont nombreuses, l'art joue une place importante, une histoire qui m'a touchée.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x92522d44) étoiles sur 5 140 commentaires
121 internautes sur 130 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9253e8dc) étoiles sur 5 "You've always been in love with beauty itself. You're funny that way." 28 septembre 2010
Par Michael J. Ettner - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
The play of emotions and themes with which Michael Cunningham is most adroit -- love, loss, desire, despair, mortality -- are again engaged in his new novel set in present-day Manhattan. But take note: the epigraph Cunningham has chosen for "By Nightfall" is a line from Rilke's "Duino Elegies": "Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror." That, Cunningham signals, will be the novel's all-encompassing theme: the pursuit, use, and misuse of beauty.

The principal characters in "By Nightfall" are Peter Harris, a 44-year-old contemporary art dealer, and his wife Rebecca, an editor of an arts and culture magazine. As a gallery owner, Peter's occupation is that of a "servant of beauty." He has begun to suffer existential dread: "[a] conviction, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that some terrible, blinding beauty is about to descend and, like the wrath of God, suck [the world] all away, orphan us, deliver us, leave us wondering how exactly we're going to start it all over again."

The plot, modestly scaled, is set in motion by the appearance of Rebecca's much younger brother Ethan (age 23), a beautiful but flawed and directionless young man who's interested in doing "something in the arts." Ethan's brief stay with the couple in their spacious SoHo loft will upend all three lives.

"By Nightfall" is written in a combination of voices: at times there is a third person omniscient narrator, sometimes a second person interlocutor, but principally we are caught within Peter's own ruminations. The lasting effect is a story told through Peter's eyes. While this brings a unity to the novel, it also can be a handicap. When events, ideas and emotions come to us filtered through his fears and sensibilities, the narrative sometimes falls into a rut, trapped by the insular sound of Peter conducting a hothouse conversation with himself. The reader yearns for more self-sufficiency on the part of other characters -- persons we are meant to, and want to, care about. Happily, Cunningham is terrific with dialog, and the frequent conversational segments -- animated, stylish, and verbally agile (these are New Yorkers, after all) -- oxygenate the narrative.

Cunningham's most popular novel, "The Hours," gained strength from the interconnectedness, across time and space, of three extraordinary women. The new novel, less ambitious and focused on one man, does not achieve similar standing. This is not surprising when you consider the following thought that comes into Peter's mind -- a view, I suspect, shared by the author:

"We--we men--are the frightened ones, the blundering and nervous ones; if we act the skeptic or the bully sometimes it's because we suspect we're wrong in some deep incalculable way that women are not. Our impersonations are failing us and our vices and habits are ludicrous and . . . we have no idea about anything that actually matters."

Some are likely to dismiss "By Nightfall" as privileged and claustrophobic, but I think enough others will have a different take. Yes, the setting and tone are highly literary, with frequent allusions to high culture sources ("Ulysses" and "The Dead"; "The Great Gatsby"; "Death in Venice"; the real-life doomed affair of Rimbaud and Verlaine). That's what you expect from Michael Cunningham. But at the same time, in what is one of his shortest novels, Cunningham manages to cover a broad range of topics of interest to many readers, not the least of which is relationships. When tracing Peter and Rebecca's histories, Cunningham uses his extraordinary skill at conveying the enduring connections within families. He is best with younger characters, especially sibling relationships. He traces the pangs of growth beyond adolescence as surely as he captures our fears of growing old and dying.

You cannot gainsay the beauty of Cunningham's writing, his knack for filling in the perfect detail, his intelligence and empathy. As for magic, Cunningham convincingly creates a bevy of working artists who are part of Peter's world, devising for each a unique aesthetic and then conjuring up rooms full of their artworks, all minutely described. Other reviewers will doubtless cite their own favorite passages, but for me the one that stands out is a terrific set piece in which we follow the footsteps of the insomniac Peter in the wee hours of the night as he meanders through the irregular streets of lower Manhattan. It is an unexpected, charmed sequence.

Cunningham once introduced the author Joan Didion at a public ceremony with this observation: "Our most significant writers record us for future generations." With that in mind, I think we would do right to add "By Nightfall" to the record.
45 internautes sur 49 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9253e930) étoiles sur 5 Forced writing makes for disappointing read 20 octobre 2010
Par Kristin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I thought The Hours, A Home at the End of the World, and Specimen Days were all wonderful. By Nightfall has the same beautiful prose, but it lacks many elements that make the others great.

For one, the characters just aren't that likable. In every other one of his novels, I could find something to relate to or sympathize with in every man, woman, gay, straight, young, old, contemporary, historic person. In By Nightfall, I found Peter to be pathetic, his wife flat, and his brother-in-law a whiny child.

I also like Cunningham for the deep ideas he can effortlessly mix into his stories. In this case, it was more like he was trying to mix a story into his deep idea, and it was unsuccessful. There was too much thinking about life and beauty and not enough life and beauty actually happening. On top of that, the constant musing nature let to redundant vocabulary--evanescent, crepuscular, ineffably. I like a perfect word as much as (if not more than) the next person, but when I start noticing the same words being repeated, that tells me you're trying to stretch a 30-page idea into a 230-page novel. Kind of jarring.

Perhaps I shouldn't fault Cunningham for trying to move on and do something new (based on this novel, perhaps HE is having an existential crisis over the nature of his own art), but at the same time, I really miss the triangular, interweaving stories that spoke more to me than this forceful presentation of a theme.
52 internautes sur 59 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9253ed68) étoiles sur 5 Not so Cunning(ham) 27 octobre 2010
Par Charles L. Ross - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I did not find any of the characters, including the often naked young man with the nice ass (God help me) appealing; nor interesting. After endless paragraphs describing in detail the colors of every (or so it seems) neighborhood in New York City, including some of the outer boroughs, the story picks up; although before reaching the end, there is still interrupting, interfering stream of consciousness from not only the protagonist but from the narrator, sounding exactly alike. Without all of this--without the Tom Ford suits and the Prada skirt and the name of every taxi driver--it would have made a good short story. Instead, the endless parade of marching phrases, separated from one another by commas and semicolons--so that the punctuation becomes another character? or perhaps a Greek chorus?--and yet connected through the listing of everything that might make them the same; or different, if you fear death. (And isn't it human to be afraid? Especially of death.) The pseudo-philosophical ramblings on art are tepid and grow tedious (and I majored in art). The openings of parentheses are to lead us into Peter's mind, but when there are (sometimes) five to a sentence, all insipid, they do not close fast enough for me. No thought can be said once but must be doubled, perhaps tripled, with another way of saying exactly the same thing. Still. Each sentence, every word is carefully selected, almost religiously (maybe), as though it were measured by a metronome. The book is WRITTEN. And it is a chore to read.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x92540150) étoiles sur 5 A kiss is still a kiss... 13 avril 2011
Par Jomar Ribeiro - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
...and a sigh is just a sigh and unfortunately, By Nightfall is one big sigh. You labor through this short novel and at the end all you can say is who cares. Being a fool for love is only interesting when we care about the fools and in this novel all of the fools are just remote. The writing is so pretentious and silly that it almost makes you angry. The book is also filled with typos, incorrect words and and a couple of glaring mistakes, for instance when we are told Peter is wearing a charcoal polo shirt under a suit, but as he is stripping down in his kitchen he removes his jacket and trousers and unbuttons his shirt. I am sure this all sounds trivial, but so is this novel.
25 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x925400fc) étoiles sur 5 Not All Art is Pretentious, But This Novel Is 2 décembre 2010
Par Gregory Zimmerman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Midway through Michael Cunnigham's slim new novel, By Nightfall, a character describes a rich woman's expensively decorated living room as "...so magnificent it transcends its own pretensions." That's also a good description for what Cunningham must've hoped his novel would be. But since it's not exactly magnificent, we're pretty much left with just pretentious. And the novel, though well-crafted, sure is that.

But the novel failed for another reason, too: Its protagonist is an utter dolt. Far be it from me to need likable characters to enjoy a novel, but Peter Harris is not just unlikeable -- he's totally unbelievable. Here's the story: Peter's a mid-40s New York City art dealer in the midst of a crisis. He's not sure he's happy with his life. (Real original, right?) When his wife Rebecca's much-younger, much-troubled brother Mizzy comes for a visit, idealistic Peter develops all these notions of Mizzy as quintessential Youth, Beauty, and the Happiness of his marriage when it was still new. And then, Peter thinks he might be in love with Mizzy. But is he actually in love with Mizzy or is he in love with what he's convinced himself that Mizzy represents?

But heterosexual, married Peter's possible homosexual crush on his brother-in-law (which to Cunningham's credit is certainly an original take on the mid-life crisis dilemma!) is not even the ridiculous part. The ridiculous part is how silly Peter, who Cunningham painstakingly renders as this uber-self-aware, contemplative, hip New Yorker, seems at various points in the novel. He's like a rocket scientist who can't balance his checkbook. As one example of this: Early in the novel, he comes home and sees Mizzy naked in the shower and actually mistakes him for his wife, wondering why she looks so much younger all of a sudden. Yes, this is a foreshadowing of what's to come, but its too gimmicky to be believable. And then later, Peter so blatantly misses some rather important signs that by that point are so obvious to the reader, it's impossible to take him seriously anymore.

So, then, Peter's naïvete contradicts with his (and the novel's) pretentiousness. As evidence of that pretentiousness, read this sentence (from Peter's thoughts): "She sighs voluptuously. She could so easily be a Klimt portrait, with her wide-set eyes and bony little apostrophe of a nose." A beautiful sentence, no doubt. But how does someone sigh voluptuously? And who is Klimt? Peter certainly knows, and maybe that's how an art dealer would think, but Cunningham is practically holding it over his readers' heads that they don't. And that, and dozens of similar examples throughout the novel, are what drags the novel into pretentiousness.

I do think By Nightfall is an original, smart piece of contemporary lit. But to me, the annoying peripherals cancel out the ingenuity of the story and Cunningham's often stylish prose.
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