As a writer I understand the value of reading. It is one of the great pleasures in life for me and as I posted my 100th review on Amazon this week, I revisited all those wonderful reads and tried to select my favourite book from all of them. It was a difficult choice at first and then I re-read the review of one very special book that I had posted and I was instantly reminded of the effect this book had on me when I read it. Here is my review, judge for yourself, but first a word about the author.
I first discovered Jim Murray’s books while sitting by the pool on vacation in the Canary Islands. I was absolutely hooked on Jim’s magnificent book Brother. It connected with me on many levels, partly perhaps there was instant ease as we both hail from Ireland and I wallowed in the flow and cadence of the language. But it was much more than that. Jim Murray’s writing is so technically brilliant that it almost goes unnoticed. The writing seems so simple despite its complexity and that is the genius of his craft. Brother led me to Doubly Ugly and again he had me hooked from the first page.
When I discovered he had a third book available The Galapagan, I hardly dared imagine he could surpass his first two but how wrong was I? This is a dark and wonderful tale and it has become one of my favourite books of all time. Independent authors or Indies as they are most commonly referred to, struggle in the vast commercial world of publishing despite a wealth of talent that exists. It can be difficult to identify true quality when glancing through the vast catalogues of books available. It was with this in mind that these awards have been developed to help you find the true gems…and so I want you to take a moment to consider not just The Galapagan but all of Jim Murray’s wonderful books, each one a gem in their own right.
Here you have a chance to read a marvellously talented artist and to be part of his story by spreading your enjoyment among your friends. I am proud to announce that my book of the year 2015 goes to The Galapagan by Jim Murray. Congratulations Jim.
My Max Power book of the year 2015 is The Galapagan by the wonderfully talented Jim Murray.
Sublime and lyrical, a fantastic book, June 22, 2015
A remarkable tale, The Galapagan of the title is Gabriel, isolated from the world as a child because of his dysfunctional family; he has grown up different to the rest of the world. This book owes so much to a great Irish tradition of writing. There are literary equivalents to Joyce except this is accessible in a way Joyce is not to so many people; there is a sense of darkness like Frank O’Connor, the humour of Behan and Flan O Brien and the eccentricity of Patrick Mc Cabe. But this writer has his own distinct voice and he is a delight to read.In here we have the brutal and savage Anton Crow a veritable monster in the tradition of Frankenstein’s monster. Gabriel feels responsible for his Anton in a way I can’t explain without spoiling the plot, but it is this sense of responsibility for what he feels he has created in some ways, that is at the heart of the book. There is much violence and terror between the pages of this brilliant book but all to a purpose. There is line after beautiful line in this book that demonstrates the author’s wonderful turn of phrase like, “He is abandoned, like an outcast from the tribe, beneath the night the like of which he’s never witnessed, the stars like dandruff across an undertaker’s back.”
I have read two other books by Jim Murray, Brother and Double Ugly and here again he returns to familiar themes of guilt and connection, characters whose fates are somehow bound together, who have a sense of responsibility, are tied to, or hold a grudge against another and ultimately turn in on themselves desperate to understand their own purpose, value and meaning in the world. Lyrically splendid, emotionally addictive, this is a book that is filled with all sorts of gems. The narrative is magnificent, the dialogue sublime and the plot rips along at a fantastic pace. There is so much to enjoy. It is a wild ride and there is madness and fear and a blend of mayhem and terror that kept me on edge. But there is more, colours – hints of Dostoyevsky and lyricism that flows through every page.
There are few writers who can maintain this standard of quality writing and Jim Murray is up there with the best of them. I loved Double Ugly, Brother is still one of my favourite books from last year but The Galapagan has surpassed all my expectations. There is little else to say except that if you have read Jim Murray before you will know what a talented writer he is so you will certainly want to read this book. If you haven’t then I urge you to open up this wonderful book and discover a writer you will instantly become addicted to. Five stars out of five for a book that deserves ten.
Other books by Jim Murray are Brother another equally enthralling read and the superb Double Ugly. And they can be found here
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