Eaves, Will. “Murmur: A Novel”, Bellevue Literary Press, 2019.
Into the Mind
In “Murmur”, author Will Eaves invites us into the mind of Alec Pryor, a character who was inspired by Alan Turing, father of artificial intelligence and pioneer of radical new techniques to break the Nazi Enigma cipher during World War II. He was later persecuted by the British state for “gross indecency with another male” and forced to undergo chemical castration. Set during the devastating period before Turing’s suicide, “Murmur” looks at life, love and consciousness.
“Murmur” is about a man who responds to intolerable physical and mental stress with love, honor and curiosity about the ways in which we see ourselves and the world. This is an audacious and daring look at intellectual inquiry.
We are pulled in on the first pages and we respond emotionally as we read. We feel our hearts break and then find our faith restored. You might sense that am struggling with words as I read this and that is because it is unlike anything I have read before.
Writer Eaves gives us his intelligent interpretation of aspects of the life of “a character who closely resembles the brilliant, multifaceted Alan Turing is a dreamlike wonder of memory and consciousness. Its ways are mysterious, its effect deepens with every reading.” Eaves digs deep into all the dimensions of human consciousness as it explores cause and effect, and the meaning of life and love, of the human heart, of dreams, consciousness, science and the future.”
It is a poignant meditation on the irrepressible complexity of human nature and sexuality, and a powerful indictment of the cowardice and groupthink that sustain state-sanctioned barbarism. It also poses timely questions about the digital world that Turing’s pork helped bring about.” By giving deep thought to human experience, we gain insight into thought itself. It is the embrace of opacity and the portrayal of the paths of thought that test Alec’s belief that ‘[a] mind can’t prove or step outside itself’ and he does so by inviting us to step out of ours, and into his.”
Eaves probes the boundaries between dreams, perception, and reality, prompting the reader to examine the recesses of his own psyche from which we get a dialogue between art and science, and fact and fiction.”
We look at what machine consciousness might mean, the implications of AI and where it leads us. Turing’s life and punishment become transformed into something subversive and even triumphant.