Specimen Days

Michael Cunningham

Lucas, Catherine, Simon: three characters meet time and again in the three linked narratives that form ‘Specimen Days’. The first, a science fiction of the past, tells of a boy whose brother was ‘devoured’ by the machine he operated. The second is a noirish thriller set in our century, as a police psychologist attempts to track down a group of terrorists. And the third and final strand accompanies two strange beings into the future.

A novel of connecting and reconnecting, inspired by the writings of the great visionary poet Walt Whitman, ‘Specimen Days’ is a genre-bending, haunting ode to life itself – a work of surpassing power and beauty by one of the most original and daring writers at work today.

Reviews of Specimen Days

  • ‘Intricately conceived, stylishly written and admirably ambitious, this absorbing novel lingers in the mind.’ Peter Parker, Sunday Times

    ‘“Specimen Days” contains more incidental beauty and emotional insight than many impeccably dull items on the shortlists of prestigious literary prizes. And it’s by far the best gothic historical sci-fi cop thriller you’ll ever read.’ Michel Faber, Guardian

    ‘Cunningham’s conclusion is decidedly optimistic, if not utopian…And it is that abiding, dreamlike cinematic sweep of time – and our place within it – which makes “Specimen Days” an ultimately satisfying, richly rewarding and deeply enjoyable book.’ Philip Hoare, Sunday Telegraph

    ‘Thought-provoking.’ Independent

    ‘As a novel of ideas, “Specimen Days” manages to be both entertaining and moving…puzzling, thought-provoking and well worth having.’ Daily Telegraph

    ‘Like its namesake, this novel is a work of genius.’ Glasgow Herald