A quiet and elegant book, Day visits one family on three separate days in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Although the pandemic is a central theme, the words COVID or pandemic are never actually mentioned. The author has said the he can’t imagine writing a contemporary novel without the backdrop of the pandemic and I absolutely agree.
Isabel and Dan live in a Brooklyn brownstone that is becoming too small for their growing family. Isabel feels vaguely dissatisfied with her marriage, her job and basically her life. She doesn’t know when these feelings began but she is sometimes overcome with sadness. Dan is a stay-at-home parent who at one time was a rock musician and is trying to launch somewhat of a comeback.
Isabel’s brother Robbie lives with them but they have asked him gently to search for another place to live since their oldest son needs a bedroom of his own. Robbie finds some solace in a fake Instagram account he created after a bad breakup.
All of these lives are impacted by the pandemic in ways they could not have imagined. Day is a beautiful exploration of contemporary family life that is both deeply introspective and often funny. I loved the movie 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴 which was based on Cunningham’s book and I look forward to reading it now. He is a brilliant writer!
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy. All opinions are my own.
About the Book:
As the world changes around them, a family weathers the storms of growing up, growing older, falling in and out of love, losing the things that are most precious—and learning to go on—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Hours
April 5, 2019 : In a cozy brownstone in Brooklyn, the veneer of domestic bliss is beginning to crack. Dan and Isabel, troubled husband and wife, are both a little bit in love with Isabel’s younger brother, Robbie. Robbie, wayward soul of the family, who still lives in the attic loft; Robbie, who, trying to get over his most recent boyfriend, has created a glamorous avatar online; Robbie, who now has to move out of the house—and whose departure threatens to break the family apart. Meanwhile Nathan, age ten, is taking his first uncertain steps toward independence, while Violet, five, does her best not to notice the growing rift between her parents.
April 5, 2020: As the world goes into lockdown, the brownstone is feeling more like a prison. Violet is terrified of leaving the windows open, obsessed with keeping her family safe, while Nathan attempts to skirt her rules. Isabel and Dan communicate mostly in veiled jabs and frustrated sighs. And beloved Robbie is stranded in Iceland, alone in a mountain cabin with nothing but his thoughts—and his secret Instagram life—for company.
April 5, 2021: Emerging from the worst of the crisis, the family reckons with a new, very different reality—with what they’ve learned, what they’ve lost, and how they might go on.
From the brilliant mind of Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham, Day is a searing, exquisitely crafted meditation on love and loss and the struggles and limitations of family life—how to live together and apart.