Bryan Murphy is a man of Kent, though he comes from a long line of Irish peasants. He has worked as a fruit-picker, kitchen hand, road-sweeper, bar-tender, wages clerk, teacher of English as a foreign language, translator and copy-editor. He recently retired from a job within the United Nations system, and now concentrates on his own words, as a writer and an actor. He divides his time among England, Italy, the wider world and cyberspace.
Goodbye, Padaniaby Bryan Murphy
In this novella of ideas set in a dystopian near future, a young woman strives to break free of the weight of her grim past and avoid the bloody future that life has in store for her. Against the background of the death agonies of a pariah state, Daria Rigoletti transforms herself from contract killer to people-smuggler to cult leader, but circumstances combine
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In this novella of ideas set in a dystopian near future, a young woman strives to break free of the weight of her grim past and avoid the bloody future that life has in store for her. Against the background of the death agonies of a pariah state, Daria Rigoletti transforms herself from contract killer to people-smuggler to cult leader, but circumstances combine against her attempts to break free of violence. Will the mysterious Mercurio help her – if she doesn’t kill him first? Will any other man reignite her human feelings and her passion for love and life?
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Plenty of action, and psychological depth. I just wish this tale of a woman trying to break free of violence were longer. It also has something to say about Italy, racism, gullibility and resistance..
I have to say that the main character in Goodbye, Padania, Daria Rigoletti, is an engaging character. I don't think she means to be – she just carries on quietly and anonymously with killing people, but we naturally want to know how a woman came to fill such a role, and we are drawn to her when human feeling starts to fill her empty heart and she tries to find something less ruthless to do to make a living. As the quality of mercy flows back into her, we can feel empathy for her, and sympathy with her attempts to stop trading in violence in a world in which it is a major currency. The world in question is a hypothetical future independent state called Padania, in present-day north Italy. Upon independence, it seems to have engaged in an orgy of racist violence, which has made it a pariah state. Without immigrant labour, the economy has collapsed, and the regime has become more and more totalitarian, with a militia of murderous thugs, an electrified wall to keep people in, and a forced diet of TV soaps and beauty contests to keep them sedated, until an old spirit of resistance re-awakens. I have a feeling that the author is more interested in the political story than the personal one, but it is the evolving personality of Daria that fascinated me. Defects are that is a bit disjointed, and that the minor characters are not developed. Perhaps the author will return to Padania and do just that. I think he has found a rich vein to mine here.