August 7, 2005

Specimen Days

Specimen Days
Michael Cunningham


(August 7, 2005)

Three long stories, each featuring a crippled boy, a beloved woman, and character who speaks in the voice of Walt Whitman. The first story is a 19th-century historical vignette, set in the slums of New York, the second is a contemporary police procedural, and the third is a science-fiction thriller.

All three stories slow down on occasion, and the first slows down so often and so ponderously that it seems almost impenetrable. The second and third are much better.