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