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By Michael Cunningham

From Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of The Hours, comes this largely praised novel of 2 boyhood neighbors: Jonathan, lonely, introspective, and uncertain of himself; and Bobby, hip, darkish, and inarticulate. In big apple after university, Bobby strikes in with Jonathan and his roommate, Clare, a veteran of the city's erotic wars. Bobby and Clare fall in love, scuttling the plans of Jonathan, who's homosexual, to father Clare's baby. Then, whilst Clare and Bobby have a child, the 3 flow to a small condo upstate to elevate "their" baby jointly and, with a strange good friend, Alice, create a brand new form of relations. A domestic on the finish of the World masterfully depicts the charged, fragile relationships of city lifestyles today.

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Seventeenth-century life-writing may thus be seen as particularly concerned with subjectivity, in the sense that it focuses on the events of the inner rather than the outer life, and depends on some notion of selfexploration and self-knowledge even if the stories it tells about inner lives often seem stylised and conventional. But the ‘individuality’ generally seen as the defining feature of autobiography is complicated; the self that is to be uncovered has from one point of view nothing significantly individual about it.

However, the significant drama Crises of the Self 39 they deal with is not precisely the development of a relation to God, but rather a narrative of the breakdown of relationship in general – with God, but also with human beings, especially with family. The particular focus of these narratives on a time of intense distress and disturbance gives them a distinctive quality of intimacy and local detail that is not often present in other spiritual autobiographies. The narratives are concerned with damage to the self, and recovery from that damage.

Rather than an opposite to forgetting, memory is part of knowledge and the ability to learn, as his summary of what he has been through makes clear: By my Sins and Sensualities, I had brought myself into horrible Distractions and perfect Madness, I was for a Time deprived of the regular use of Reason, and by the Disturbance of my Imagination I became wild and outragious. Crises of the Self 35 But now, my Brain is composed, my Mind calm, my Thoughts orderly, I have a Fancy to invent, and a Memory to retain what I clearly understand; 53 I can well remember others Sermons and my own The point about sermons marks the distance he has travelled from his irreligious youth; and it is a distance measured by his ability to put memory at the service of godliness.

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