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John L. Murphy
Image: John L. Murphy

Born in Los Angeles but should have been born in my parental Ireland. Find me at:“Blogtrotter”.


Features

Monday, March 18 2013

"Just Walk Into That Cloud": Finding Bhutan in Books and Film

"Happy peasants in bountiful fields. A King who's too good to be true.... I'm making photos, shooting video and collecting stories. Everybody in Bhutan's got a story -- some of them might even be true."


Wednesday, April 6 2011

Wandering Through: An Interview with Elf Power

Starring in surrealist films? Stumbling upon comic-book cover art? These are just some of the questions answered by Elf Power as they continue to celebrate the release of their 10th album.


Columns

Thursday, December 18 2014

'American Interior': A Multimedia Tale of a Welsh Vision Quest

Gruff Rhys' innovative, multi-platform narrative unfolds the beguiling and intriguing narrative of an enigmatic Welshman seeking out his kind... in America.


Thursday, March 27 2014

'The Age of Atheists' Considers That Beyond Reason or Religion, Our Quest for Meaning Endures

Who will choose this enriching and rewarding removal from reality TV and manufactured distraction? Who will walk the course mapped in these heady pages, along a sobering path of self-awareness of our fragile presence surrounded by darkness and mystery?


Monday, February 10 2014

What Would Thomas Pynchon Do?

Like his protagonists, Thomas Pynchon appears to remind us, in his absence from advising us, that we must rely on our own smarts, arrayed against mystery and cynicism and corruption.


Monday, February 3 2014

"The Goodness of Privacy in a Warm Room with Books"

We all search for escape, and while music, drugs, radicalism, or fame may ease the monotony, the protagonists of so many of these tales find themselves at the end of their narratives still constrained.


Sunday, November 24 2013

In 'Imperial' Vollmann Struggles to Understand the Salton Sea as He Would a Mark Rothko Painting

Here as in all his works, William T. Vollman sides with the poor and the marginalized, but he tries to remain fair to all he meets, even as he confesses his prejudice, or tolerance.


Reviews

Tuesday, February 24 2015

The Dead Talk in Maírtín Ó Cadhain's 'The Dirty Dust'

This novel's recurring themes of discontent and rivalry dominate whatever moments of tenderness and solidarity remain after Irish village life has given way to common death.


Wednesday, February 18 2015

Championing the Middle Ages as Innovative

Johannes Fried's erudite study traces our evolution towards reason, worldwide exploration, and rational procedures to a dynamic medieval period.


Wednesday, February 18 2015

Man Against the Elements, Alone on the Prairie

Hugo Glass survives a brutal attack to pursue those who left him to die in this retelling, based on true events during the frontier winter of 1823-1824.


Monday, February 16 2015

The Year That Changed Chaucer From Court Insider to Ambitious Author

Paul Strohm's Chaucer's Tale tells how Chaucer's fall from political favor in London elevated his literary ambitions in rural retreat.


Tuesday, January 6 2015

'A Temporary Future' Unpacks David Mitchell's Nesting Doll Novels

Patrick O'Donnell's survey of David Mitchell's six novels dives into the labyrinthine, "screaming Russian doll" structures they all share.


Buzzcocks: The Way [16.Nov.14]
Disappears: Era [3.Sep.13]
Weekend: Jinx [31.Jul.13]
The Fall: Re-Mit [22.May.13]
White Hills: Hp-1 [21.Jun.11]

Blogs

Monday, August 30 2010

A Punk Collage in the Spirit of Walter Benjamin

Why did punk implode so rapidly? Why did its bands flare up and fade out? And how did this movement resist yet revamp the hippies they rushed to replace?


Friday, April 30 2010

J.C. Hallman's The Hospital for Bad Poets

Twilit zones: suburban malcontents and post-modern autodidacts roam, ponder, fret, and mull.


Friday, April 23 2010

'Elegy for April': Benjamin Black's New Dublin Noir

John Banville's alter ego resurrects Quirke in another 1950s Dublin noir adventure.


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