The Semantics of Murder

I just finished this complex fiction based on truth, The Semantics of Murder, by Aifric Campbell, a young Irish writer living in England. John Kelly sent the book as an Xmas gift and wants to compare notes; he bought an extra copy for himself.

It’s about two brothers 18 years apart in age and a mother who loves only one, and it’s also based on a real murder that happened to a brilliant professor of philosophy and language by the name of Richard Montague. The younger (unloved) brother, Jay, becomes a psychoanalyst and is scoffed at by the older (loved) brother, Robert, who is deep into mathematical analysis of language and has become famous, although controversial, in his field (similarly to Richard Montague). He’s also a risk taking homosexual and this is in the 1950’s and 60’s, risky times for gays. This is what gets him killed. Jay eschews science and prefers art, the exact opposite of his brother Robert. In fact Jay writes a book of short stories based on his sessions with clients. Jay too has become highly respected in his field, that is, before he gets to publishing his short stories. When one of his former clients actually lives out her story things go rapidly downhill for Jay.

At the end you realize that neither science nor art, neither medication nor the “talking cure” can save certain people from themselves. Medication can at least keep these people from self-destruction, at the price of a loss of personality.

PS. The Semantics of Murder website is worth checking out. You’ll be greeted by a video of a young person on a bike (represents Jay when young checking Robert’s disappearances) with captions spelling out “the end is where we start from”. (Quote from T.S. Eliot) On the site there’s a link to another video: the book in 36 seconds. Plus there’s lots of info on the lovely author.

Similar Posts:

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

  1. Terry McKenna’s avatar

    your description makes this book sound like a must read. i rarely read fiction, but i think i’ll go out and buy this one. good post!

  2. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks, Terry. Yes, there’s a lot to think about in this book. The young author has an interesting background and the writing is great, I think.

  3. Barbara’s avatar

    Hi Mardé,

    Happy New Year to you !!
    Very good; using some of the long winter days to read.
    It sounds very intense; maybe if I get very courageous one day, I’ll check it out.

    Have a great first week of 2010,my friend. :)

  4. Mardé’s avatar

    A Happy New Year to you too, Barbara! Yes, we’ve started off the new decade with a lot of snow and wind but today the temperature is almost up to the freezing mark! Great, huh? Take care, and thanks for you message. :smile:

  5. Terry McKenna’s avatar

    it took Amazon about 2 weeks to ship me a copy. I just started reading it, and it grabs you right from the start! (I do most of my reading on a long train ride home).

Clicky Web Analytics