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The Heartbeat of a City

It has been a while since I have read something that strikes me with such force that my thoughts stray past the basic story and into why I read at all; the feeling you get when you turn the final page and stare into that vast expanse of the blank subsequent (n). This was the case with Yannick Murphy’s Here They Come, a story told through the voice of a thirteen year-old girl living in the slums of New York City.


I think my fascination with the work began with its stunning simplicity. Every sentence is elemental in its flow. “We are hungry all the time. We chop up an onion and eat it between sliced bread and mayonnaise.” It is a pure voice, one that flows freely throughout the work, creating page by page a little girl who stands before you with skeptical eyes. She wonders why you are looking into her life and why you aren’t helping. Grab the gun, give them food, find their father, and light their mother’s cigarette for Christ’s sake.

The story sees nothing radical happen. Instead you follow the blistering winters where a broken window and rain combines to make an indoor ice rink in the living room, and the deadly summers; the heat to much to bear and nothing can be done. Perhaps I got a more intense read because I was sitting on my balcony listening to the cars and their horns, hearing the heartbeat of a different city, but a city nonetheless. This would be a different story if you were reading it on a porch swing in Utah.

Regardless it is a beautiful book, just what I needed to be inspired once again. Murphy blew me away, as so many professional authors do, and I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates eloquent storytelling.

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