Shunning the conventions of plot, narrative and characterisation, Spike Milligan's first new novel for over a decade is an act of pure randomness. Subtitled "A Novel"--and that's less a description than a reminder--The Murphy certainly hints at storytelling, though that's as close as it gets. The reality is a skittish, fantastical journey with more rambles than a hill walker on a cross-country jamboree.

Milligan's anti-hero, Murphy, is an eejit who finds himself propelled into a surreal stupor after his wife opts to clear up his hangover with a turn of the frying pan. His ensuing recollections occasionally demonstrate a loose pattern, but by and large hang by the most arbitrary of threads. At various points Murphy finds himself being hauled out of a wishing well by the local rugby team, only to be chucked back in for explaining that he fell while "invigorating" himself, abducted by aliens who remove his appendix in exchange for Guinness and displaying worrying necrophiliac tendencies as a hospital orderly. Like Flann O'Brien on speed, The Murphy is a catalogue of absurdities with little or no apparent direction. The reader is left with the suspicion that they are stumbling through a series of episodes compiled at random and written on pure whim. As a showcase for Spike's lyrical playfulness The Murphy can be very funny--the humour is entirely joke-based, relying on linguistic inventiveness, rather than situation or circumstance;

"Me and me wife are going to Portugal on holiday", said O'Toole. "A place called Park des Roches. I'm lookin' forward to it."

"Well now. It would be silly to look backwards to it", said Murphy. "How long will you be dere?"

"Der same as I am here, five foot eleven", said O'Toole.

The Murphy is full of loony linguistic tricks and joie-de-vivre though it's difficult to avoid the impression that the person enjoying himself most is the man who wrote it. Perhaps this is what happens when Spike "invigorates" himself --Gala Brand

Used availability for Spike Milligan's The Murphy

Hardback Editions

August 2000 : UK Hardback

Title: The Murphy :
Author(s): Spike Milligan
ISBN: 1-85227-869-2 / 978-1-85227-869-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Virgin Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   

2000 : UK Hardback

Title: The Murphy, a Novel
Author(s): Spike MILLIGAN
ISBN: 1-85613-744-9 / 978-1-85613-744-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Virgin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

May 2001 : UK Mass Market Paperback

Title: The Murphy
Author(s): Spike Milligan
ISBN: 0-7535-0524-X / 978-0-7535-0524-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Virgin Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU