Michael Cunningham Discusses New Novel, Olympia

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham tells Entertainment Weekly that he's about two-thirds finished with a new 250-page novel called Olympia that may be completed by September.

Cunningham Says Cunningham: "Peter is the central character. He’s an art dealer and he finds that he
is increasingly drawn to his wife’s very much younger brother, who
evinces for him everything that was appealing about his wife when he
first met her. He’s not gay. Well, he’s probably a little gay because
we’re all a little gay, right? But it’s certainly eroticized. It’s not
because he wants to f—  this boy. The boy is like the young wife."

You can read an excerpt from Olympia at Electric Literature. The excerpt, according to EW, is about "the relationship of two brothers growing up in 1970s suburban
Milwaukee, the flamboyantly gay Matthew (he even figure skates!) and
his younger brother, the presumably straight Peter."

Michael Cunningham [official site]


  1. Trog says

    I loved MC’s last novel (which was more like a few novellas with connected themes). I found the first story tedious with its Whitman babble, but the last story, so melancholy and sad, continues to haunt me years later.

    MC doesn’t retell the same yarn over and over and in the same style. I like that about an artist and I’m ready to go along for another ride–even to outer space with a lizard queen.

  2. Michigan says

    Glanced through the interview; read that he loves horror movies and has no limits. So it’s like no form of violence could bother him. And that portrayals of severe human suffering is something he finds entertaining. I don’t feel safe with an author (or person) like that. So I’m happy to completely avoid him and his work. Sounds like it’s half sh*t anyway.

  3. says

    I wasn’t a huge fan of Specimen Days either (didn’t finish it, so can’t say much more than that) – but Flesh & Blood and especially The Hours are absolutely brilliant.

    Like Trog, I appreciate an artist who doesn’t rehash his or her own work all the time – and given how revelatory his previous work has been, I’d nearly always be willing to give Michael Cunningham another chance to blow me away.

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