“Murphy’s darkly gorgeous debut . . . is an Irish coming-of-age novel. It’s also a meditation on why we tell stories.” —The Plain Dealer
This is the story of John Devine—stuck in a small town in the otherworldly landscape of southeastern Ireland, worried over by his single, chain-smoking, Bible-quoting mother, Lily, and spied on by the “neighborly” Mrs. Nagle. When Jamey Corboy, a self-styled Rimbaudian boy wonder, arrives in town, John’s life suddenly seems full of possibility. His loneliness dissipates. He is taken up by mischief and discovery, hiding in the world beyond as Lily’s mysterious illness worsens. But Jamey and John’s nose for trouble may be their undoing, and soon John will be faced with a terrible moral dilemma.
Joining the ranks of the great novels of friendship and betrayal—A Separate Peace, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha—John the Revelator is “remarkable” and grapples with the pull of the world and the hold of those we love (The Observer).
“Murphy’s strongly written debut splits the difference between the sensitivity of Portrait of an Artist and the freakishness of Butcher Boy.” —Publishers Weekly
“Jaw-dropping . . . A terrific, disquieting addition to the long tradition of Irish storytelling.” —Kirkus Reviews