'An engrossing and inspiring story of loss, love and hope, set against a backdrop of art, activism and addiction.' Observer
The Christodora is home to Milly and Jared, a privileged young couple with artistic ambitions. Their neighbour, Hector, a Puerto Rican gay man who was once a celebrated AIDS activist but is now a lonely addict, becomes connected to Milly's and Jared's lives in ways none of them can anticipate. Meanwhile, the couple's adopted son, Mateo, grows to appreciate the opportunities for both self-realization and oblivion that New York offers.
As the junkies and protestors of the 1980s give way to the hipsters of the 2000s and they, in turn, to the wealthy residents of the crowded, glass-towered city of the 2020s, enormous changes rock the personal lives of Milly and Jared and the constellation of people around them. Moving kaleidoscopically from the Tompkins Square Riots and attempts by activists to galvanize a response to the AIDS epidemic, to the New York City of the future, Christodora recounts the heartbreak wrought by AIDS, illustrates the allure and destructive power of hard drugs, and brings to life the ever-changing city itself.
In the media
Brilliantly kaleidoscopic . . . Murphy is exceptionally skilled at writing about addiction, the intertwining of bliss and abjection... What makes this novel remarkable, though, is the way it captures the full arc of Aids in New York . . . There have been several whopping New York novels in the last couple of years, but none of them possesses Christodora’s generosity, its weathered and unflinching faith in what people can achieve.
Olivia Laing Guardian
This novel is your next must-read . . . A captivating, multi-stranded New York epic about the AIDs crisis . . . An engrossing and inspiring story of loss, love and hope, set against a backdrop of art, activism and addiction.
This thrillingly accomplished novel... [Its] varied minds and voices are realized so convincingly that Christodora sometimes seems the product of spirit possession. And it is joyous despite its subject matter... Murphy's skills are most nakedly on display as he describes the addictions in which Mateo and others find solace, and their electrical-shocking, soul-warping, mind-annihilating trips. Desperately intense, it is the kind of scene that requires putting a book down for a moment to take a breather.
New York Times
Hugely ambitious . . . this rich, complicated story . . . compelling . . . The richness of Murphy's account . . . the most moving sections of the book deal not with the height of the [AIDS] crisis but with its aftermath . . . The book's overwhelmingly powerful final sections... the last hundred [pages] have a rare narrative sweep and force. For all the despair it documents, [it is] a book about hope
Garth Greenwell Washington Post