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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

John Murray at Words by the Water 2010

On the 12th of March, in the Cumberland News, Paul Crute wrote a very positive review of John Murray’s 8th March talk about fiction and Cumbrian dialect at Words by the Water. Entitled ‘A Reet Riveting Read’ it says:

‘One bit of genius that Murray possesses is his ability is to make puns from the dialect when he introduces it into his books. The way he reeled off a list of East European countries in Cumbrian dialect kept the audience amused and the subtle differences introduced included the poor country Albania changing to Albany (a wealthy American city) when pronounced in Cumbrian’.

As a relevant footnote, John has to confess he has only ever been interviewed on two television channels: the late Border TV based in Carlisle, UK, and… Albanian television. He was present at the Legion d’Honneur ceremony held in Paris in December 1997 for Albanian author Ismail Kadare, and was interviewed by Albanian TV as the lone representative of a country neither French nor Albanian. His immortal words were ‘it’s a great day for France and a great day for Albania!’

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Liz and Joe in the Literary Review

The Legend of Liz and Joe has been reviewed by Simon Baker in the current issue of the Literary Review. Baker writes: ‘Murray’s work shows that sometimes the biggest truths in fiction come from the shapeliest lies of all: few works of tough realism this year will have defined what being human means more adroitly than this cock-and-bull tale’. There isn’t an online version of the review, but you can get a copy in all good bookshops, or subscribe here.

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Liz and Joe in The Guardian

Alfred Hickling’s review of The Legend of Liz and Joe appeared in The Guardian on Saturday. ‘Murray’, he begins, ‘is a bit of an undiscovered treasure’. Read the review, or discover Liz and Joe for yourself by getting your copy through Amazon or Inpress.

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Writer Clare Dudman has reviewed The Legend of Liz and Joe on her blog. She calls it ‘a profound book. The writing is witty, relevant and there are passages that are strikingly beautiful’. And she’s followed up her review with an interview with John Murray which is well worth a read, if only for the tale of how John and his wife proposed to each other in 1979.

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A serious joker

The Legend of Liz and Joe has been reviewed in Penniless Press. Editor Alan Dent writes: ‘John Murray’s is a highly individual and unusual mind and his awareness of the shaping power of social forms acute… Murray is one of the best comic writers in English since Sterne and like that serious joker he has important things to tell us’. Lest you were thinking that the novel is just an amusing read though, Liz and Joe, Dent says, ‘does what literature is supposed to do: constantly challenges lazy-mindedness, self-indulgence, pomposity, propaganda, ignorance, meanness, self-serving ambition, received wisdom, glibness; it rouses the mind from its early 21st century torpor and makes it attend to the eternities.’ Phew. Read the review.

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Liz and Joe in The Independent on Sunday

In his piece in yesterday’s Independent on Sunday, writer and critic DJ Taylor says: ‘The book I most enjoyed reading last week was the Cumbrian novelist John Murray’s The Legend of Liz and Joe (Flambard Press)’, which he calls ‘a dazzling piece of Lakeland folk myth…’ Read more about Taylor’s reflections on the Booker longlist and publishing ‘apartheid’.

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The Legend of Liz and Joe has been reviewed by William Palmer in The Independent. As well as commenting that ‘while it is always a pleasure to read a new John Murray novel, it is not so easy to review one’, he calls the book ‘extremely funny and wickedly clever’. Read the full review.

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