Monday, August 1, 2011

The Call by Yannick Murphy

I loved Yannick Murphy’s novel, Signed Mata Hari, so much that I picked up The Call without any idea what it was about. It’s very different, but equally wonderful. The “narrator” is a rural veterinarian going through life’s trials with his wife and three kids. He ponders life, his son is injured, his own health is questionable, his wife is a little frustrated, and there are lights in the sky above his house. But his story is not told in traditional paragraphs, rather as a sort of list of prompts and answers (alternate title could have been An Ode to the Colon). Here’s the opening as an example:
     “Call: A cow with her dead calf half-born.
     Action: Put on boots and pulled dead calf out while standing in a field of mud.”
Call, Action, What the Wife Made for Dinner, and What the Children Say, are repeated often, but there’s also What the Spaceman Said and What the House Says at Night, among many others. Murphy is a strange and different writer in the best possible way. It’s amazing that she manages to tell such a complete and fascinating story in this strange style. I loved this book. It will be on my top ten for the year. Take a risk – it’s in softcover!

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