Sunday, 31 July 2016

Christadora - Tim Murphy

Angels In Manhattan?

The Christadora is a building in Manhattan's East Village by Tompkins Square Park. Originally constructed as a housing solution for the less affluent and the many immigrants in the late 1920’s, then reinvented as a yuppie type residential block inciting riots it remains, a slightly less than iconic  NYC landmark. Iggy Pop,lived there for a while and so did Michael Rosen. It's very real and serves as a lynch pin in this absorbing novel which among other things details AIDS and AIDS activism in New York. It's almost to New York what  Maupin’s Tales of the City is to San Francisco and I was also reminded of Tony Kushner’s play Angels In America.

This is an ambitious novel painting an almost tangible portrait of bohemian art, drugs and sex in New York and Los Angeles. It observes the devastation that addiction, illness, ambition and obsession can wreak on a singular group of people. Milly and Jared are the catalyst for this fiction and all that derives from it and we can link all the characters back to them. Starting in 1981 and concluding in  2020, interesting as that future date doesn't not give rise to any futuristic or scifi type agenda and the progression of time is seamless, the book follows the lives of a handful of characters through those decades.

I want to say that this is a great book but it isn’t really, it’s carried along by its ambition and creates an illusion of being more than it perhaps really is and in many ways it is over long. But ultimately I cared about the characters; I cared about their well being and what happened to them. and it was mostly set in a city I grew to know quite well which always adds another dimension to my reading appreciation. In fact, reading this book made me want to return!!!

I received a copy of this from Breakaway Reviewers.

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