Peter and Rebecca Harris: mid-forties, married for nearly twenty years, committed careers in the arts - he an art dealer, she an editor. With a spacious loft in Manhattan's Soho, they are admirable, enviable contemporary urbanites, with every reason, it seems, to be happy.
Then Rebecca's much younger look-alike brother, Ethan (known in the family as Mizzy, 'the mistake'), shows up for a visit. A beautiful, beguiling twenty-three-year-old with a history of drug problems, Mizzy is wayward, at a loose end and looking for direction. In his presence, Peter finds himself questioning his artists, their work, his career - the entire world he has so carefully constructed.
Like his legendary, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Hours, Michael Cunningham's masterly new novel is a heart-breaking look at the way we live now. Full of shocks and aftershocks, it makes us think and feel deeply about the uses and meaning of beauty and the place of love in our lives.