Since there are several plot summaries here, I am merely going to say that this is the most enjoyable book I have read since 'The Goldfinch.' I completely devoured it in about five sittings. The narrative sweep is dizzying and the characters indelible. I talked to my therapist about it yesterday and found myself needing her box of tissues for the first time.
I lived in New City for about 35 years beginning in 1982; Tim Murphy made me feel as if I was reliving those years, dominated by rising rents, AIDS headlines, and AIDS activism. For several years Tim wrote copy for the book clubs I ran, so I knew he was a talented writer. This surpassed all my expectations. And, for once, I didn't find a single typo!
It's only August, but I think "Christodora", by Tim Murphy, will be my favorite work of fiction for 2016. But, even while saying that, I must stress that this book is not for every reader. It's a big, brawling epic, taking place from the 1980s up til the mid-2020s. At almost 500 pages, there's scarcely a wasted scene or unsketched character. It's the story of the AIDS epidemic told by using both gay and straight characters who come together in New York City, and later in Los Angeles, to portray how lives were affected by AIDS and the use of drugs. It's also the story of how love and understanding and time helped mend some of the broken lives.
The Cristodora was a building in Greenwich Village that went through gentrification in the 1980's and 90's. The apartments were rehabbed and bought by people in the arts and social activists. One apartment was occupied by Millicent and Jared Traum and their adopted son, Mateo. The Traums, both artists from liberal families,...
Christodora can be gritty and grim so I had trouble initially getting through it. Theny I turned on the whisper link audio and before long I was an eager reader again. The story is indeed grim. In relatively few pages its decades-long storyline encompasses east village life before it became trendy, issues facing multi racial adoptive families, drug addiction, loss, the AIDS epidemic and the courageous people who fought it, and the heavy toll it took on their lives, even after surviving the disease. But it is also a hopeful story of friendship and families splintering apart and coming together again. It was easy to get involved with the wide array of characters and feel invested in their lives. You'll be happy to check this one out and stick with it.
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