Time to make changes? Are you singing Peggy Lee’s anthem – “Is That All There Is” at the beginning of a new year? Michael Cunningham’s latest book By Nightfall has a middle-aged art dealer disappointed with his life and looking for the answer, but the story would have made a better short story than short novel.
Someone had commented that the book had a punch of an ending, so I soldiered on. Somewhere around the middle, I decided I needed to skim through to the end – going back if the wording warranted more information on the plot. But this book really has no plot – other than a forty something married Manhattan art dealer going through a midlife crisis.
Cunningham knows how to use words, and some of his gems may make it worthwhile:
“Parenthood, it seems, makes you nervous for the rest of your life.”
“… you’re not the first fool for love.”
“I was envious. I didn’t want to be myself. I didn’t want to be some mature, levelheaded person who could cut him a check …I wanted to be…Free…”
The ending? Yes, it has that O’Henry wallop, but takes way too long to get there – and
that’s all there is…