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A Description of the Blazing World

by Michael Murphy (Freehand)

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In Michael Murphy’s debut novel, we’re introduced to Morgan Wells, drowning after his wife miscarries and leaves him. He covers his apartment in Post-It notes and creates an elaborate set of daily rules and regulations to cope. His obsessive compulsion reaches a high when, by mistake, he receives a mysterious postcard addressed to a stranger who shares his name and becomes determined to find him. The second narrative comes from a teenage boy with a penchant for visualizing his own death, sent to live with a critical older brother in Toronto. There, he experiences the 2003 city-wide blackout and discovers a book he believes prophesies the end of the world. Murphy is an artful storyteller, mixing humour and suspense in equal measure---drawing us into these distorted minds as they struggle to find a sense of belonging in an unyielding world. He plays with boundaries throughout---physical ones between people, those between fact and fiction and, ultimately, the boundaries we create within ourselves. It’s through the systematic crossing of these boundaries that the story comes full circle, revealing that we are all connected and nothing is as it seems.

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