Friday, July 20, 2012

Read a Good Book: Milligan and Murphy by Jim Murdoch

Jim Murdoch’s novel, Milligan and Murphy, published by Fandango Virtual in November 2011, focuses on a pair of half-brothers who begin with a simple, short journey only to wind up on a much larger one. Inspired by Samuel Beckett’s characters Didi and Godot in Waiting for Godot and Mercier and Camier, these two brothers start out living rather hum-drum lives who have never thought of the bigger questions of life such as whether they are happy, whether they should travel, whether they should find a greater purpose. This story is an enjoyable read and Mr. Murdoch makes it easy to travel alongside the brothers. Mr. Murdoch jumps in to explain the scenery and the characters in detail during the parts where the brothers are simply moving forward without much action other than their walking onward until they encounter a new town or a new character.

In the story, we find the two brothers living with their Ma who sends them to a nearby farm to lend a hand and as they walk down the path they stumble onto a man they’ve never seen before. The man leaves them with questions. Then, before they know it, the two brothers change their path and just keep walking without a true plan in place and ultimately decide they should find the sea which they have never seen before. Their Ma has no idea why she’s been abandoned and the brothers themselves do not know why they’ve abandoned all they know for this journey. The story’s ending leaves you to imagine the next steps the brothers take and perhaps there will be a sequel which I would look forward to reading. What I like is that the pair gives absolutely no forethought to things such as having money for travel or sleeping accommodations and must fly by the seat of their pants throughout their journey. In the process they stumble onto some memorable characters such as another seemingly aimless traveler like themselves, an older woman who puts them to work, as well as barkeepers and the tallest barmaid they’ve ever seen. I recommend this book as a good summer read, take it with you on your own travels and enjoy.

If you enjoyed this review, you may purchase a copy of Milligan and Murphy by Jim Murdoch at:

To learn more about Jim Murdoch please visit his blog at:

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again next week…


Jim Murdoch said...

Glad you enjoyed the book, Paula. I’m afraid I have no plans for a sequel though. Once I got started on this I imagined I was writing Didi and Gogo: The Early Years but quickly realised this was more of a Next Generation kind of project. Every generation needs their own pair of tramps to wait for that generation’s Godot but they’ve got to come from somewhere—there was clearly a time beforehand when they weren’t waiting for anyone—and so that’s who I see Milligan and Murphy as, the natural successors to Didi and Gogo, although this is them just starting off on their travels. Beckett was rotten to all his characters. He put obstacles in their paths. Mercier and Camier, who all accept as his prototypes for Didi and Gogo, try to escape Dublin but end up literally where they started; Didi and Gogo talk about going but never move and the same for Hamm and Clov in Endgame. I decided to do the opposite here, to make Milligan and Murphy’s escape relatively easy, to offer them helping hands rather than clenched fists. I think it works.

Poet Hound said...

Jim, I think it works, too. Thank you for sending your novel my way!