Review of The Narcissus Variations by Damian Murphy

Another unsettling and atmospheric novella from Damian Murphy, who has concocted an aesthetic all his own comprised of dense subtext, dark, elaborate interiors, and esoteric rites, woven into an ongoing meditation on the mortal soul and the responsibility of the artist. 

This one centers around the Kin and an enigmatic journal, given life by the scrivener protagonist. You will find an interplay of striking symbols, the return of the mirror as a gateway, an untrustworthy implement, and the coaction of written, spoken, and deciphered language.

Most of the author’s works are representative of his pristine imagery, his elusive double-meanings, and his refined and polished style. To read any of his books is to enter into a vast subconscious layer of the human experience, replete with mythological creatures, shimmering glades, doorways leading onto the abyss, and a nightmarish reality haunting this veil of existence we call the quotidian.

Review of Abyssinia by Damian Murphy

Redolent of mystic awareness. Cryptic and profound. With a highly refined prose style, the author indulges in subtle subterfuge of the reader’s expectations.

A quiet and subconscious exploration of inner landscapes, characters bound by association to a storytelling doll, imbued with sententious sentience. Constricted to the confines of a microcosmic hotel, the novella radiates a distinctly European allure, but yet contains the puzzled musculature of a Borgesian foray into the wild unknown.

Mr. Murphy uses his locales to push and pull at the contours of his characters’ perceptions. With a sort of blurred clarity, he conveys an elegiac acquaintance with the uncanny and a breathless insinuation toward the everyday-magical aspect of a quiet, plotless endurance of the presence of other beings. For when you get right down to it, people are other consciousnesses, whom we must perforce fail to comprehend. This is a sublime descent into the outskirt encounters of lives adjacent to our own, each possessing an exquisite and memorable texture.

Review of A Spy in the Panopticon by Damian Murphy

I wish I could find the edition pictured on Goodreads. I only had access to the first part: Spy in the Panopticon, which by itself is another stunning work of the imagination from Damian Murphy. 

In this one especially, the seed of an obscure metaphysics seems to be present. There is a suggestive association between the female main character, the enigmatic machine, and the spyhole in her room, all of which adjust and skew reality in some way. By controlling perception, creativity, and the muse, she is first inspired and then pursued by the manifestations of her curious investigations.

There are patterns cropping up in the architectural elements, dreamlike aura, and fear-laden recounting of the main character’s descent into this strange internal extension of her craft. Once again dark sides of human nature are subtly revealed through the interpolation of myths and mirrors which reflect an untrue image.