Picks and Pans Review: Here They Come

updated 03/27/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/27/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Yannick Murphy


An unnamed 13-year-old girl with a foul mouth narrates this present-tense stream-of-con-sciousness novel. The setting is the grungy New York City of the 1970s, and the subject is anything that passes through the mind of a girl with two sisters, a violent brother and parents who have split. Or as she explains it, "My father lives uptown with a short blonde he found on a set, porno or not, we don't know." Her French mother drinks too much and "sleeps the sleep of the accident dead." Disturbing vignettes of neglect pile up like garbage in the streets. With no pauses for reflection, the novel sometimes feels detached, but Murphy's startling language and imagery accumulate great power as they hurtle toward the reader.

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