Peter and Rebecca Harris: mid-forties denizens of Manhattan’s SoHo, nearing the apogee of committed 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. Then Rebecca’s much younger look-alike brother, Ethan (known in the family as Mizzy, “the mistake”), shows up for a visit. A beautiful, beguiling twenty-three-year-old with a history of drug problems, Mizzy is wayward, at loose ends, looking for direction. And in his presence, Peter finds himself questioning his artists, their work, his career—the entire world he has so carefully constructed.
Like his legendary, Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Hours, Michael Cunningham’s masterly new novel is a heartbreaking look at the way we live now. Full of shocks and aftershocks, it makes us think and feel deeply about the uses and meaning of beauty and the place of love in our lives.
The two discuss youth, how to inhabit characters, and the worst question to ask an author.
The two discuss writing fiction, MFA programs, and the importance of rigor.
The two discuss their new books and how they met.
Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Michael Cunningham's New York Times bestselling novel By Nightfall, narrated by Hugh Dancy. Peter and Rebecca Harris, midforties, are prosperous denizens of Manhattan. He's an art dealer, she's an editor. They live well.
“Emmy Award nominee Hugh Dancy well captures Peter’s melancholy…Cunningham’s popularity generally and his exploration of universal middle-class dreams and fears make this a good choice for book clubs” – Library Journal
“What is signaled in print through the use of design elements, narrator Hugh Dancy does through voice: A change in inflection, a slight questioning, a hesitation, or an increase in speed alerts the listener to a switch from stream of consciousness to public dialogue, from narrative description to personal conversation. Dancy’s reading brings authenticity to Peter’s emotional journey, saving it from self-indulgence.” – Audiofile