Their neighbor, Hector, a Puerto Rican gay man who was once a celebrated AIDS activist but is now a lonely ...more
I want to thank everyone on Goodreads for the wonderful and warm reviews of the book, but it is also frustrating to see scientifically inaccurate or underinformed claims about what supposedly makes people with HIV/AIDS "unsympathetic beyond recall."
Backup data here:
"Christodora" by Tim Murphy is a brilliant debut novel that spans decades, from 1981 until 2021. It deals with AIDS, drugs, more drugs, rehab, mental illness, homosexuality, adoption, art and many other topics. The novel is set mainly in New York City.
I'm giving this book 4.5 Stars rounded up to 5. I vacillated from a strong 5 to 4 and back to 5 Stars again in the last part of the book.
This novel is everything people are say ...more
2016 Honorable Mention Read with High Distinction
This has been my most challenging read of the year. I hope to explain in a few paragraphs why this is so.
When I started to read this book and at times throughout the book I would slam into ambivalence, denial, disgust, and remorse. As these are all uncomfortable emotions, defense mechanisms would pop up. I wanted to stop reading so many times and throw the book away but I would return again ...more
“You have it," she said.
"No, Millipede, you have it."
"Milly held the blueberry between her lips, leaned forward, and shared it with
Jarad--the two of them laughing as they each bit the berry to pull away their half, kissing all the while. The entire transaction took just seconds; they were
certainly not the kind of people to engage in ostentatious and drawn-out public
displays of affecti ...more
At first it almost had the feel of a book of connected sh ...more
The christodora is a building. A structure with a history of tenants that spans decades. It's a sad and destructive era - one that is a reality that cut to the core. An era of drugs, unprotected sex, moments of pleasure turning into a life of regret. The HIV epidemic emerging and the damage it leaves ...more
Inside the pages of CHRISTODORA the characters are flawed, the sex explicitly graphic, and the drug use overwhelming and deadly yet the story is moving and powerful in its message.
As pieces of several complicated lives come together; despite the lies that shock and hurt, despite the devastating pain of loss, we are thankfully left with a bit of...more
When I think of books that read like a movie, I often think of crime novels and thrillers, because as riveting as action or chase sequences might be to read, they always raise your pulse another few notches when you watch them unfold.
Tim Murphy's Christodora couldn't be further from that type of book, but its tremendously memorable cast of characters, a plot spanning 30+ years, and the sheer emotional power of its ...more
The Christodora is an iconic building in Manhattan's East Village where the fates of many of the characters intertwine.
This chronicles a family and other characters through the AIDS epidemic beginnings and onward.
I loved the characters, even the ones that were so flawed by drug abuse, etc. I loved also reading more about New York.
This had very sad moments, some shocking moments, but also very heartwarming mome ...more
“This, he thought on some murky, inchoate level, was what happened as people—a network of people—faced the end, as they realized their collective dreams weren’t coming true, that they were running faster but falling behind, that they were losing coherence and morale. They connected in rash, inappropriate ways, because, most of the time, they were unable to connect at all. The survival instinct was to isolate.”
For me it lived up to the five star hype. It is not a book I would have been drawn ...more
Christodora is probably my favorite novel of 2016 -thus far. It is a heartbreaking story of AIDS, drug addiction, and mental illness - spanning from the 1980s-2021. My guess would be, after reading Tim Murphy's bio, that much of this is more than fiction. It is hard to believe this is a debut novel. He did a spectac ...more
Christodora contains all of the elements you'd expect to find in an epic novel. There's 40 years worth of history, tragedy, triumph, and human drama. Surprisingly, it's well laid out in only 428 pages. I mention this because I can only imagine the difficulty in finding the balance between providing enough context and detail without adding unn ...more
In the early 1980s, when Ava works for the NYC health department, AIDS is an unacknowledged epidemic. Ava’s new protégé is Hector Villanueva, for a short period of time, until he becomes an AIDS activist. Ava, struggling with her mental illness, becomes frustrated with the city’s lack of interest in helping, and opens a home for women with AIDS. Ysabel is one of her “charges,” a young, Latino woman whose family wants nothing to do with her after she’s seen on the NEWS talking about having AIDS. ...more
It took me ages to get into it but it was worth it.
Christodora turns out to be a home where Jarred and Milly live.
I thought this fitted in well for Gay pride month. Hector next door is gay. He’s an addict and very down on his hunkers.
Milly and Jarred have an adopted son, living in New York he grows to see all that it has to offer and life itself. Plus his personal realisation.
Hector the neighbour and themselves become very int ...more
I loved the setting, which was primarily New York City from 1981 to 2021. The heart of the story is the AIDS epidemic and the main characters' lives are all touched and linked together in some way by it. I loved all of the characters, who were beautifully and believably fleshed out. The only quibble I have it the way the story is told. It is a bit of ...more
I bet a lot of your friends and family told you that you wrote a powerfull, brilliant novel. I also bet you and your close ones don't really understand why Christadora wasn't nominated for any award, has less than 500 ratings on Goodreads and didn't really escape City on fire's shadow. I also bet that you regard yourself and your close ones as highly biased. Maybe you even started doubting about how good you thought it was.
Well, I'm sure they are biased, but the're also 100% right ...more
In New York in the 1980s, all too many people – mostly gay, mostly male – were going home in the dark as the AIDS epidemic gained ground. The rest of us, at least in the beginning, were in the dark as well, not quite understanding the gravity and terrifying implications of this horrendous disease and going blithely about our business. It is to Tim Murp ...more
Incredibly told, harshly real, but with love.
Heartfelt fiction of the AIDS/HIV epidemic during the 1970-1980s, primarily in NYC where people, young and old, male and female, were dying quickly, sadly, horribly, from this disease no one knew how to fight let alone cure. Intertwined in the facts are stories of people, families, children, couples, students, etc. from all walks of life, socio-economic status, racial and ethnic backgrounds. This disease did not di ...more
The book, setting and characters are largely centered on an area of NYC affected by the AIDS epidemic, the ravages of hard drugs along side the gentrification of parts of the city. I have had difficulty dealing with all of the downsides of personal choices in the book and the negativity, especially in some of the young peoples' lives. Perhaps this will be redeemed later in the book, but at this moment in my life it simply doesn't ap ...more
Brief review from my phone: totally my kind of book, family journey framed in the historical reference of early AIDS activism. NYC centric with a little bit of left coast to ...more