Michael Cunningham has been a favorite of mine since I first read The Hours. His books are some of the deepest and darkest I’ve ever read, but they are so incredibly beautiful. Flesh and Blood is no exception to that.
Flesh and Blood tells the story of a family living in the New York area (Long Island, NYC, Connecticut). It spans three generations, from 1935-1995. The thing I love so much about Cunningham is that he wraps the entire human experience into his stories, and no subject is barred, nor any character. LGBT characters are often the primary people in his stories, and this book is no exception to the rule. Because of the timeline, you will see all of the prejudices, struggles, stereotypes, etc thrown at the people in this book over and over and over again, and if it doesn’t infuriate you or make you want to sob…well…I don’t have much to say to you. AIDS and drug addiction also run rampant in the pages, along with suburban infidelity and general family dysfunction.
There is real emotion, love, desire, really every kind of feeling you could have, written into this book. Make sure you have ample Kleenex. This isn’t a friendly read. This is a heartbreaker, a battle, but well worth it. I would compare it to Middlesex, maybe.
Ok, I need some brain candy. Time for something easy.