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Short-listed for the 2018 Goldsmiths Prize
Taking its cue from the arrest and legally enforced chemical castration of the mathematician Alan Turing, Murmur is the account of a man who responds to intolerable physical and mental stress with love, honour and a rigorous, unsentimental curiosity about the ways in which we perceive ourselves and the world.
Formally audacious, daring in its intellectual inquiry and unwaveringly humane, Will Eaves’ new novel is a rare achievement.
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- A Friend
Great, if you've got effort to listen
I got this on the basis of the awards it got and an interest in the life of Alan Turings' life. It's extremely well written. there are passages that are beautiful and it speaks a lot on the whole lived experience and focuses on the later more tragic part of his life which is the part I find more interesting.
Sort of anyway. My issue was that I usually listen when I'm in my car, or out and about or cooking. All times when you can't give something 100% attention. This book needs 100% attention. It's not so much a story as a collect of thoughts, like poetry. If you're looking for something to dip in and out of and have on in the background, this is not it.
I listened to this just after it won the Wellcome Prize 2019 and I was completely blown away by it. The plot tells the story of brilliant mathematician and wartime code breaker Alan Turing (here given a new name by the author in order to put words into a real person's mouth) following his conviction for homosexuality and an enforced chemical castration. The author explores the morality of that punishment, the subject's psychological reaction to it and the behaviour of family members,former friends and colleagues.
The author does a fantastic job with the narration. He brings the whole terrible situation to life and manages to make the more difficult sections (involving Turing's mathematical interests) both interesting and engaging. Bravo.
This would be a great listen for anyone who likes modern historical fiction that really makes the reader think and ponder on what might have been if the main character had made a different decision at a key point in his life.