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ehle64
Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:04 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Marj wrote:
BUT, Cunningham's a smart cookie. Maybe that's where he wanted to take us, and perhaps purposely left us with no resolution?


He wanted us to go there because he's a smart cookie?????
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ehle64
Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:06 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Marj wrote:
I mean it is predictable, right. What isn't, is that Jonathan lives so much of his life in worry. Perhaps the actual illness is not as important to the author as how Jonathan deals with the possibility of it?


Dumbfounded. AIDs is predictable within a man-to-man relationship? Does "worry" make you more susceptible to the virus??? Oh, and yes, I'm sure Michael Cunningham doesn't think that AIDs was very important.
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Marj
Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:13 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 10497 Location: Manhattan
Wade,

Oh, I see! No, I have no idea what kind of sex they had. My reaction was a combination of the times, (early '80's) and that appeared to be a casual affair.

And maybe, just maybe I wasn't giving Cunningham enough credit. Based on what I just said, a writer of a lesser grade, might have taken us right from a casual affair, right to Aids. It was a silly assumption on my part, and I'm glad I was wrong.

PS. While I would never delete anyone else's post, I will delete mine if I feel it is warrented.
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ehle64
Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:17 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
ehle64 wrote:
Marj wrote:
Wade,

That's exactly where my mind led me too. Jonathan and Erich's affair had AIDS written all over it.


This completely disturbs me and is NOT where my mind was. Were they barebacking? Was there lots of talk about not using condoms? Cause if there was, I sure as hell missed it.


After reading back, I fear that I've been too on-hand. I think that anyone reading Marj's post would feel that just because the affair was homosexual between two men, it had AIDs written all over it. I'm still freaking out that people still feel this way.
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Marc
Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:22 am Reply with quote
Joined: 19 May 2004 Posts: 8423
Quote:
But as soon as the NYC Erich fuckboy scenes started, I was all, OMG, Jonathan's going to die from AIDs.


you set the tone, fagboy.
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ehle64
Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:24 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Cause I was remembering a novel that I was rereading. Later.
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Marj
Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 2:42 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 10497 Location: Manhattan
I want to correct a post that I wrote last night so that it's clear I was agreeing with Wade, regarding the his reaction to the possiblity of Jonathan's becoming ill, BUT not simply as a result of his relationship with Erich.

I also want to thank Wade, for giving me the benefit of the doubt.
Wade wrote:
Quote:
It's so funny that you guys completely missed that whole part. I mean, when I started re-reading the novel in 2004, I had kinda forgotten it, too. But as soon as the NYC Erich fuckboy scenes started, I was all, OMG, Jonathan's going to die from AIDs. Of course he doesn't by the end of the novel, but I guess that's where my mind led me after reading it for the first time in 1991.

I agreed with Wade, but not because it was just a homosexual affair. If it had been I might have considered Jonathan's realtionship with Bobby to be dangerous. No, it had to do with the times, (the '80's), the casualness of the affair, but most of all the way Jonathan himself characterized it. He seemed to be dissatisfied with the affair and himself. At the time, I thought perhaps this is where Cunninghams wanted to introduce the prospect of Jonathan becoming ill.

While we know that Jonathan and Bobby have slept together and that by the time Bobby arrives in NYC, it's pretty clear that Jonathan and Clare have their own comfortable living arrangement. I had to assume that Jonathan had either fallen in love with another man or was seeing other men. I had no reason to believe he had turned to celebacy. So, I thought there might be a reason Cunningham chose this relationship to examine so closely.

But what Wade said, and what I found interesting, was that his re-reading of the book, gave him a deeper insight into all the characters than what he gleened from his 1991 reading. That's what I was hoping to learn more about.

I still am.

Nevertheless, I understand that the misunderstanding and disruption that occurred last night may have brought a halt to our discussion. I am still hoping to attend the interview with Cunningham Wednesday morning. I do plan to go back over our posts to find specific questions, but if anyone wants to post one, I'd be happy to bring it with me. In fact that would be really helpful.
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Marj
Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:21 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 10497 Location: Manhattan
I have attended a few of the discussion at B&N for A Home.

At this point in time, aside from biographical material, and an interview, the only thing Michael Cunningham has contributed is how he came to write the book. I love this kind of stuff. And I found it most revealing as to why we have been struggling with certain issues. I am posting it below:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I wrote A Home at the End of the World over 15 years ago, and no longer feel quite like the man who wrote it. This is true to a certain extent the moment a book is published, and the gap widens with every passing year. My sense of dislocation has been mitigated somewhat by the experience of writing the screenplay for the film version, which is about to be released as I write this. Still, we'll be talking about a book written by the Michael Cunningham of the late 1980s. At some points your guess may be just about as good as mine as to what he was thinking, and why he did what he did on the page.

My initial impulse in writing A Home at the End of the World was to pay some sort of tribute to the profound, deep, and lasting effects of childhood friendship. Although the book is not directly autobiographical -- I'm not Bobby or Jonathan, or maybe it's more accurate to say I'm both of them in equal measures -- I did grow up with a small gang of other boys I loved with an intensity that changed me forever. I'm gay, but "gayness" is not my most immediate concern in this story. Of more urgent interest to me was, and is, this: the fact that for many of us those early friendships were our first experience of true and abiding love. Before romance, before eroticism, we've had another person, or two or more, who simultaneously enters our private worlds and pulls us out of them; who demonstrates for us the beauties and perversities and cruelties and mysteries of another. They are, for some of us, straight as well as gay, our first true loves. We learn from them the complexities of emotional exchange. We are, if we're fortunate, marked forever.

I was puzzled by how little this common human experience seems to figure in our fiction. There are countless novels about romance. But you could probably count the adult books about friendship on one hand, and have a finger or two left over. I wanted to try to write a book that seemed to be missing from the field.

A Home at the End of the World took me almost seven years to write, in part simply because I'm slow, and in part because I was in my late twenties (and then my early thirties), and subject to the various winds that blow certain youngish men all over the map. I was in and out of love, I had at least a dozen different jobs, and I moved (let's see) from Cape Cod to Northern California to Greece to New York, then back to Cape Cod, and back finally to New York, where I live today. I dragged the book along with me wherever I went. I worked on it while camping in a friend's living room in San Francisco. I worked on it while living in a cave in Greece.

Over the course of those seven years, the AIDS epidemic grew from an obscure disease that seemed to be striking gay men in San Francisco (known then as GRID, or Gay-Related Immune Deficiency) into the global catastrophe it is today. What began as a relatively simple story about a love between two boyhood friends, one straight and one gay, clearly needed to expand to include the devastation of the epidemic. To do otherwise -- to continue writing a straightforward, if unorthodox, love story that did not mention the virus -- would have felt like setting a love story in London during World War II and leaving out the bombs.

And so what I ended up with, seven years later, was the story of a love that survives the worst that can happen to people; a love stronger than death itself. I had started it with more modest intentions. I should probably tell you, too, that it proved impossible to remain true to the particulars of a disease that changed more quickly than I could write about its effects. When I finally turned the manuscript in to my publisher, Farrar Straus & Giroux, there was no reliable way of telling who was or was not infected. By the time the book appeared, a test had not only been established but was in widespread use.

A Home at the End of the World was, then, from the moment of publication, pinned to a particular time.

The world has changed considerably since then.

Love has changed not at all.

I look forward to talking to you about it.

Yours,
Michael Cunningham
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Befade
Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 2:10 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 3630 Location: AZ
Very Happy Hi guys and Wade, esp. I was so happy to be able to come here after watching "A Home at the End of the World" tonight. I had read a few chapters of the book when this started......and just didn't get into it.

I love what you said, Wade,

"to 50s-early 60s ish widow in Arizona who's having an affair with an Indian who apparently knows how to fuck, LOL. It's a shame that that part of the novel was left out, too. I mean, Spacek's hair grows out and she wears denim, but I thought her (Alice) finding some semblance of home or life in Arizona after Ned's death was a very great part of the whole of the novel."

That's me..........I moved to AZ in August and have my eye out for the Indian! (I did have the early 60's unhappy marriage......like Alice, but pot didn't agree with me.)

I think I liked the movie mostly because of Colin Farrell's dynamite portrayal of Bobby. His magnetism to all the other characters was unusual...........perhaps in the book he wasn't the only one with the magnetism. But it was a sweet story and I think triangles are supposed to be the most stable relationships.........as in stable structures.

Liked this much more than I expected to............I'm going to go back later and read all your comments.

Thanks mucho!
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ehle64
Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 3:11 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Too cool. Thanks for the post, befade!

_________________
It truly disappoints me when people do something for you via no prompt of your own and then use it as some kind of weapon against you at a later time and place. It is what it is.
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marantzo
Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 3:18 pm Reply with quote
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Quote:
But it was a sweet story and I think triangles are supposed to be the most stable relationships
....

That's what I thought in my first marriage, but my stiff-assed wife didn't want to bring another woman in. Smile
Befade
Posted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 10:02 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 3630 Location: AZ
You Mormon, you!
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Befade
Posted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 10:31 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 3630 Location: AZ
Thanks, Marj for the Cunningham quote..........Childhood friendships can be powerful.........although, I don't have the personal experience he describes. In the same vein I would recommend the documentary, "The Boys of 2nd Street Park." It follows a group of basketball playing boys in Brooklyn.....Baby Boom generation/Vietnam era draftees. And it reunites them...........it's long.......2 1/2 hrs. I think.........but interesting.

And to recommend one of my favorite films linking to Ehle's view of Bobby and unconditional love..........."The Crying Game."
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Marj
Posted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:31 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 10497 Location: Manhattan
Hi Befade,

My pleasure. I didn't have the same experiences either. But even so, I never had any trouble identifying ... at all!

Funny, I had thought we were finished with this particular book discussion? But as the movie will be coming out on video soon, I guess it's a good thing we still have the discussion here. And I guess you never know when someone is going to be reading the book for the first time ... Or the second for that matter?
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ehle64
Posted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:59 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
For the record, the movie has been on home video for a few weeks now.

_________________
It truly disappoints me when people do something for you via no prompt of your own and then use it as some kind of weapon against you at a later time and place. It is what it is.
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