Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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An unsigned review of Murphy appearing in the London Times Literary Supplement on 12 March 1938 provided this summary of the novel’s plot:

One might explain that its hero, Murphy, is an unemployed Irishman in London, who lives on the difference between the cost of his lodgings and the amount he claims for them from his guardian; that his mistress, Celia, is a prostitute who does her best to make him look for work; that his Dublin friend, Neary, loves a girl who loves Murphy, and they spend most of the book looking for him; and that finally, but too late, they track him to an asylum, where he has found a congenial job as attendant.