Read extract  


4.25 based on 1503 ratings & 337 reviews on

24 August 17


In this vivid and compelling novel, Tim Murphy follows a diverse set of characters whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan's East Village, the Christodora. The Christodora is home to Milly and Jared, a privileged young couple with artistic ambitions. Their neighbour, Hector, a Puerto Rican gay man who was once a celebrated AIDS activist but is now a lonely addict, becomes connected to Milly's and Jared's lives in ways none of them can anticipate. Meanwhile, the couple's adopted son, Mateo, grows to appreciate the opportunities for both self-realization and oblivion that New York offers.

As the junkies and protestors of the 1980s give way to the hipsters of the 2000s and they, in turn, to the wealthy residents of the crowded, glass-towered city of the 2020s, enormous changes rock the personal lives of Milly and Jared and the constellation of people around them. Moving kaleidoscopically from the Tompkins Square Riots and attempts by activists to galvanize a response to the AIDS epidemic, to the New York City of the future, Christodora recounts the heartbreak wrought by AIDS, illustrates the allure and destructive power of hard drugs, and brings to life the ever-changing city itself.

In the media

An ambitious social novel informed by an extended perspective on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, from the early 1980s to the near future . . . A poignant . . . exploration of a health crisis that hasn't yet ended.
Kirkus Reviews
This thrillingly accomplished novel... [Its] varied minds and voices are realized so convincingly that Christodora sometimes seems the product of spirit possession. And it is joyous despite its subject matter... Murphy's skills are most nakedly on display as he describes the addictions in which Mateo and others find solace, and their electrical-shocking, soul-warping, mind-annihilating trips. Desperately intense, it is the kind of scene that requires putting a book down for a moment to take a breather.
New York Times
Hugely ambitious . . . this rich, complicated story . . . compelling . . . The richness of Murphy's account . . . the most moving sections of the book deal not with the height of the [AIDS] crisis but with its aftermath . . . The book's overwhelmingly powerful final sections... the last hundred [pages] have a rare narrative sweep and force. For all the despair it documents, [it is] a book about hope
Washington Post