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LAND'S END:
A Walk In Provincetown

One in the Crown Journeys series
Author: Michael Cunningham

In this celebration of one of America’s oldest towns (incorporated in 1720), Cunningham brings us Provincetown, one of the most idiosyncratic and extraordinary towns in the United States, perched on the sandy tip at the end of Cape Cod.

Provincetown, eccentric, physically remote, and heartbreakingly beautiful, has been amenable and intriguing to outsiders for as long as it has existed. “It is the only small town I know of where those who live unconventionally seem to outnumber those who live within the prescribed bounds of home and licensed marriage, respectable job, and biological children,” says Cunningham. “It is one of the places in the world you can disappear into. It is the Morocco of North America, the New Orleans of the north.”

He first came to the place more than twenty years ago, falling in love with the haunted beauty of its seascape and the rambunctious charm of its denizens. Although Provincetown is primarily known as a summer mecca of stunning beaches, quirky shops, and wild nightlife, as well as a popular destination for gay men and lesbians, it is also a place of deep and enduring history, artistic and otherwise. Few towns have attracted such an impressive array of artists and writers—from Tennessee Williams to Eugene O’Neill, Mark Rothko to Robert Motherwell—who, like Cunningham, were attracted to this finger of land because it was . . . different, nonjudgmental, the perfect place to escape to; to be rescued, healed, reborn, or simply to live in peace. As we follow Cunningham on his various excursions through Provincetown and its surrounding landscape, we are drawn into its history, its mysteries, its peculiarities—places you won’t read about in any conventional travel guide.

From Publishers Weekly
Cunningham (The Hours) takes the reader on a leisurely, idiosyncratic tour of the fabled town at the tip of Cape Cod. He makes the rounds of his favorite haunts, from the beaches, marshes and dunes to businesses like the halfheartedly modernized Adams Pharmacy, which has a soda fountain from the 1940s; the Marine Specialties store, a repository of the overlooked, the lost, the surplus, the irregular, the no-longer-needed, and the outmoded; and the Atlantic House, a bar that is sexy in a damp, well-used way. The fish and whales that live in the ocean around the town have a place in his excursion, as do the dogs, cats, skunks, opossums and occasional coyotes that wander the streets. People interest him most, however: the old-timer who sits in his yard, shouting, Hello hello hello, to everyone who passes by; the disheveled man who walks the main street night and day; and the more famous eccentrics, the refugees, rebels, and visionaries who have been coming to the town for nearly 400 years. There is also a large gay population, and Cunningham is especially fascinated by this community's flamboyant individuals, who add color even to the local A&P. His quirky guide, part of the Crown Journeys series, presents a very personal view of Provincetown, but at the same time it manages to convey the peculiar, inscrutable intensity characterizing the love so many people have for the place.
© Cahners Business Information, Inc.
$ 16.95 (hardcover)
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