Jim Murdoch’s novel, Milligan and Murphy, published by Fandango Virtual in November 2011, focuses on a pair of half-brothers who begin with a simple, short journey only to wind up on a much larger one. Inspired by Samuel Beckett’s characters Didi and Godot in Waiting for Godot and Mercier and Camier, these two brothers start out living rather hum-drum lives who have never thought of the bigger questions of life such as whether they are happy, whether they should travel, whether they should find a greater purpose. This story is an enjoyable read and Mr. Murdoch makes it easy to travel alongside the brothers. Mr. Murdoch jumps in to explain the scenery and the characters in detail during the parts where the brothers are simply moving forward without much action other than their walking onward until they encounter a new town or a new character.
In the story, we find the two brothers living with their Ma who sends them to a nearby farm to lend a hand and as they walk down the path they stumble onto a man they’ve never seen before. The man leaves them with questions. Then, before they know it, the two brothers change their path and just keep walking without a true plan in place and ultimately decide they should find the sea which they have never seen before. Their Ma has no idea why she’s been abandoned and the brothers themselves do not know why they’ve abandoned all they know for this journey. The story’s ending leaves you to imagine the next steps the brothers take and perhaps there will be a sequel which I would look forward to reading. What I like is that the pair gives absolutely no forethought to things such as having money for travel or sleeping accommodations and must fly by the seat of their pants throughout their journey. In the process they stumble onto some memorable characters such as another seemingly aimless traveler like themselves, an older woman who puts them to work, as well as barkeepers and the tallest barmaid they’ve ever seen. I recommend this book as a good summer read, take it with you on your own travels and enjoy.
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