Close
Close

John Murray

John Murray read physiology, Avestan and Sanskrit at Oxford. Since then he has worked in factories, and as a postman and labourer, as well as teaching for the WEA. He lives in Cumbria.

Story: ‘Natural Learning’

John Murray, 20 September 1984

Logan stood outside the shop which looked like an English funeral parlour, black-painted and all its contents invisible. On the window was inscribed in English in impressive calligraphy LEGAL OPIUM AND GANJA SHOP FOR HOLY MEN. It lay along one of those relatively deserted back streets of central Calcutta, the only wayfarers being the trams and the cadaverous dogs who roamed like wolves in their desperate packs.

One summer in the Scottish Hebrides young and mysterious Mr Stone meets up with middle-aged, forceful occultist Mr Dukes. Mr Dukes is sexually attracted to Mr Stone but Mr Stone is attracted more by flighty, playful barmaid Kate. Dukes reacts by subjecting Stone to aggressive Tarotist analysis. Stone is mortified and flees from Muile (Mull) to I (Iona). Now read on.

One way of describing his frightening progress would be to say that he moved from a big island to a smaller island to a tiny one. Then when he reached the tiny one he went to its furthest end and stood on a rock five feet out in the bright green Atlantic sea. Thus he was at a fourth stage of remoteness and felt almost securely positioned as a result.

Letter

Singer’s Sexism

17 April 1986

SIR: Michael Wilding’s review of Isaac Singer’s The Image, and Other Stories starts interestingly enough, but the latter half, in which he discusses Singer’s attitude towards sex, seems to me one of the feeblest examples of precious as-if-but-far-from-really liberal analysis yet to be offered by an academic – in this case, an academic who, as I see from your biographical columns,...
Letter
SIR: I can sympathise with anyone asked to review an anthology of stories by 14 different authors, but I think Mr Horne might have made a better job of New Stories 8 (LRB, 21 July) if he had resisted the kind of micro-textual ploughing that led him into a. creating inferential mountains out of textual molehills, and b. many of the literary faults which he so eagerly spies in various of the anthology...

Yak Sandwiches

Christopher Burns, 31 March 1988

John Murray’s fiction has always seemed to arise directly from the circumstances of his own life. At first, his work concentrated on his childhood and adolescence among the tiny, depressed...

Read More

Carrying on with a foreign woman

John Sutherland, 7 November 1985

Kurt Vonnegut’s new novel finds him on old ground. All his hallmarks are prominently here: the cute narrative manner belying an apocalyptic message (the end of the world is once again...

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences