This week the LBC is hosting a discussion of Yannick Murphy’s Here They Come, a marvelous and slightly surreal novel about a young girl and her family in New York in the ‘70s. If you missed it, an introduction to the novel (including a bit of plot summary) can be found here. Today and tomorrow, LBCers Gwenda, Kassia, Matt and I will be enthusing over the book in greater detail, and we invite you to leave comments and discuss along with us. Some other folks may stop by as well, as their post-BEA torpor allows.
On Wednesday, Murphy herself is scheduled to blog here. On Thursday, she is interviewed by “Dashing Dan” Wickett. The week ends with a Segundo podcast with the author, which should be great — I believe the young correspondent was able to meet up with Murphy in person in San Francisco.
To begin: I’ve been looking forward to this discussion. I loved this novel, read it in a great rush one night (turning off the lamp around 4 in the morning) and have been trying ever since to dissect what it is that I enjoyed so much. When recommending it to people, I’ve been describing it as “a demented New York cousin of I Capture The Castle" — although I’m not sure if that description is as accurate as much as it is a shameless attempt to piggyback on people’s devotion to I Capture The Castle in order to get them to try this new book I like a lot.
What interests me about this novel is how on the one hand, the story has these almost Dickensian bones: There is a big family, not enough money in the house and not enough to eat. The narrator is hungry and often forced to head to the street where she observes various colorful characters and city scenes. There are even some baldly sentimental moments, many of them having to do with an amazing dog. And yet undercutting this sense of reading an old-fashioned story you have Murphy’s wonderfully blunt, vinegary prose, which seems to me so modern in line and diction. To choose a paragraph at random: “My father is ripping off the husks. Silk is hanging from his elbows and his forearms like tassels from a cowboy’s suede coat. His slut is amused. She’s sipping wine. Behind her in the window I can see the sun setting over the fields.”
So I’m curious to hear from my fellow discussants, what first struck you about the novel, and what has remained with you?