One thought on “The Murphy Stories”

  1. I was thoroughly impressed by Mark Costello's 1973 story collection The Murphy Stories. The stories all center on Murphy, a middling Midwest academic with a troubled personal life. Costello's descriptions of Murphy's unhappy marriage and empty affairs alternate between harrowing and relentlessly sad, so much so that, given the general similarities between Costello and Murphy, I truly hope for the writer's sake that these stories aren't overly autobiographical.Although the well-anthologized "Murp [...]

  2. I've been hearing people talk about this book for years, telling me I've got to read it. What makes it strange is that these aren't people I usually think of as readers, though of course they read. They are more, I don't know, bohemian than bookish, usually, but I figured, well, people can tell you the same thing for only so long before you've finally got to do something about it. So I tracked down a copy of _The Murphy Stories_ and read it, and it was more or less what you'd expect, somewhat mo [...]

  3. Oh Mark Costello. Your 1970s Murphys Xmas fell out of the cannon in the slick currents of Dexamyl and fatigue, shot to smithereens by a style that now seems as dated as Harvest Gold appliances. Your characters are a teeny bit more likable than Ray Carver's, but you didn't have his range. I really do enjoy this collection, even though I put you on the same shelf with Mark Richard and Harry Crews and Thom Jones. I wish you'd written more all the same, since this one has the grease of the Iowa Writ [...]

  4. Wow- savage, breathless, enthralling writing. Even amidst Costello's stylizations there's a lucidity that pulls the reader through, in part from the rhythms built by his ravishing sentences, in part from the apt application of the style. Expressionism breaks into realism, and suits the heart breaking toughness and fragility of his characters.

  5. Great stories that deal with the dark human nature of the character. I was honored to have taken a class taught by Professor Costello at U of I, he was on of my great professors who certainly shaped how I wrote short stories.

  6. Great forgotten book, a cult favorite -- why haven't more people read this? Very Bruno Schulz. A writers' writer. Probably out of print.

  7. stylistically one of the most unique and best. very heavy, very beautiful! fave story is murphy's xmas. highly rec

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