Cover for COSTELLO: Middle Murphy

Middle Murphy

More powerful short stories about a dispossessed Midwesterner

These stories mark the return of Mark Costello's now-legendary creation Michael Murphy, the character who first appeared in the acclaimed collection The Murphy Stories. Joyce Carol Oates wrote in the Washington Post Book World, "Murphy is a Midwestern cousin of Donleavy's Ginger Man, but much more human and troubled. . . . It is a remarkable achievement, the presentation of a complex, suffering, self-conscious, and very lyric personality as he endures his own being."

"Nobody else in America writes like Mark Costello, and imitators had better not try. These brilliant new stories are intimate, haunting, funny, and sad, with the author fully in control of every sound and silence."--Richard Yates

"This book cannot be praised highly enough. A genuinely meaningful and risk-taking work of fiction."--Peter LaSalle, Studies in Short Fiction

"The stories of Mark Costello are powerful, wrenching tales of life in a dislocated somewhere between the solidly down-and-out and the nervously middle class."--James DeRossitt, Reviews of Contemporary Fiction

"In a world of passive, flat short stories, Costello's stand out like beacons, calling and warning, luring us to crash on their breathtaking shores. We have a miracle on our hands, and more people need to know about it."--Annie Dawid, Denver Quarterly

"Out of a bleak Midwestern landscape comes this potent sextet of stories. In them, Costello gives us comedy couched in despair."--Jon Obermeyer, New York Times Book Review


Mark Costello is a native of Decatur, Illinois. He taught in the English department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His stories have appeared in The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and Best American Short Stories.

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