cover image Here They Come

Here They Come

Murphy Yannick, . . McSweeney's, $22 (250pp) ISBN 978-1-932416-50-3

Told by a precocious unnamed 13-year-old girl who bends spoons with her mind, Murphy's gorgeous third book of fiction recounts the story of a poor family's coming-of-age in 1970s New York. The young protagonist's world is populated by idiosyncratic characters, including her equally precocious sisters Jody and Louisa; her also unnamed suicidal musician brother, who keeps a shotgun in his room; her depressed but strong-willed mother; her ailing and confusedly nostalgic grandmother Ma Mere, and John, the hotdog vendor on the corner who trades Hershey bars for a chance to cop a feel. When Cal, her gambling, deadbeat dad, who lives with his new girlfriend, "the slut," goes missing, the family bands together to find him and tries to survive in a world where they can't catch a break. The brother and the girlfriend travel to Spain on a tip that Cal might be there. The others stay home, struggling through the trials of adolescence, single parenthood and deprivation. In thick, poetic prose that edges toward stream of consciousness and is peppered with slightly surreal details, Murphy (The Sea of Trees , 1997) creates a world as magical and harrowing as the struggle to come to grips with maturity. (Mar.)