Christodora by Tim Murphy

I loved this book. I stayed up way later than I should have because I wanted to see how it ended. It’s full of things I love reading about. It’s about AIDS activism, what it means to be an artist, what it means to be a family, mental illness, addiction and recovery. It’s full of interesting people, and lets them make different sorts of choices. It plays around with time some, telling parts of story out of order, and it does this very well, creating and then solving mysteries, creating situations where you the reader know something that a character is about to find out, adding a layer of suspense. It’s spread out over decades, starting in the eighties, going into the future. It uses history very well, showing the changing landscape of New York City. The title comes from the name of an apartment building, having the Christodora while the world shifts around it is one of the grounding points of the novel. The latest part of the chronology is beautiful near future science fiction, advancing our world in a manner that’s intriguing and makes sense.

I don’t want to give a plot summary, because it’s a hard plot to summarize, and also it’s kind of not that sort of book? Like, the plot is excellent, I cared a lot about the characters, enough that I stayed up until quarter to four in the morning. But you’re just going to have to trust me that they’re all very interesting, and their lives are interesting, and the things that happen are compelling. I just loved it a whole lot.

It isn’t perfect. It took me awhile to get into it, and it isn’t exactly elegant, but it feels a lot. It’s raw, and it’s trying to reach out, and it want you to understand. It’s a novel with a lot of heart, and I found it really inspiring. You should definitely check it out.

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