Books »Here They Come

here they come yannick murphyWhen Jim first asked how this beautifully designed book was going, I replied, “Boy, is it written!” The prose, so flowery yet so sparse and so consistently poetic took some real getting used to and at first I felt like it was getting in the way of the story. Like old English or poetry, once I'd grown accustomed to Yannick Murphy's voice, I found myself completely immersed in her world.

Largely autobiographical, Here They Come tells the story of a young girl and her eccentric family–but they're not eccentric in a quaint way: her mother is a melodramatic mess; her weakened grandmother painfully sleeps in a chair all day; her volatile brother wears his silk chinese robe and laments his failed relationships; and her sisters all try to live a normal life as possible in an usual environment, to say the least. Their film editor/scoundrel narcissist of a father has left them destitute and alone for another woman only referred to as “the slut”.

The story takes place in the 1970s Lower East Side, when a family could manage to live on the island of Manhattan without paying thousands and thousands in rent.The family's lives are shown in snippets, like sudden memories, and are sometimes extremely moving.

This is Murphy's third novel and had trouble finding a publisher until McSweeney's picked it up. Many reviews describe it as a story of a girl who can bend spoons, which is true, but that's really misleading and not at all indicative of the tone of this dreamlike trip down memory lane–it's not sci fi and barely magical realism.

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Posted on July 23, 2007

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