The whole course of one’s life really can change in an instant.
Peter is forty-four, prosperous, the owner of a big New York apartment, a player in the NY contemporary art dealing scene. He has been married to Rebecca for close on twenty years. Their marriage is sound, in the way marriages are. Peter might even describe himself to be happy.
But when Mizzy, Rebecca’s much younger brother, comes to stay, his world is turned upside down. Returning to their New York flat after work one day, Peter sees the outline of Rebecca in the shower. But when he opens the shower door, it is Mizzy he comes face to face with. From that moment on, Mizzy occupies all of Peter’s thoughts. His fascination with him is erotic but not exactly sexual. Without ever really falling out of love with his wife, he tumbles into love with her brother, and is encouraged that way by the young man.
With traces of the tensions that ripple through Thomas Mann’s ‘Death in Venice’, this new novel from Michael Cunningham brilliantly examines the quest for unattainable, and temporal, beauty.