Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Christodora House in print now, and soon, on TV

You may have read about "Christodora: A Novel," which Grove Atlantic published last Tuesday.

First, here's the official summary of the book via Grove Atlantic:

In this vivid and compelling novel, Tim Murphy follows a diverse set of characters whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan’s East Village, the Christodora. Moving kaleidoscopically from the Tompkins Square Riots and the attempts by activists to galvanize a true response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, to a future New York City of the 2020s where subzero winters are a thing of the past, Christodora recounts the heartbreak wrought by AIDS, illustrates the allure and destructive power of hard drugs, and brings to life the ever-changing city itself.

The author, Tim Murphy, has reported on HIV/AIDS for 20 years for publications including Poz, Out, Advocate and New York magazine. (He also writes for The New York Times and Condé Nast Traveler.)

Meanwhile, last week, Deadline reported that Paramount TV has already optioned the book for a short-run series. Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias, who have the family drama "Little Men" playing now at the IFC Center, are adapting "Christodora."

The Christodora House at 143 Avenue B between Ninth Street and 10th Street was built in 1928. And here's more history via an article in the Times from 1988:

In the 1960's, according to a search of historical records conducted by the building's developer, the city rented Christadora House to a variety of community groups, including the Black Panthers. But it was eventually boarded up, and then sold at auction in 1978 to a private bidder for $63,000.

The building changed hands several times before it was purchased in 1984 by a group headed by Samuel Glasser, who oversaw its conversion into 85 modern condominium apartments, using a $6.5 million loan from Citibank and tax abatements and exemptions under the Government's J-51 tax program.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Hanging out at the Christodora House in 1929


Anonymous said...

I don't like when writers, movie producers etc... fictionalize a painful period in our recent history for entertainment purposes. A documentary I respect but not a drama which takes advantage of an epidemic(s) to sell books.

Anonymous said...

Hey 9:33, compelling fiction exposes readers to worlds they may never have known or could know. It teaches emotion, empathy, how to deal with tragedy, joy, and everything in between.

Anonymous said...

@6:37 PM
Fiction is just that fiction not truth but based upon but removed from the actual. Fiction also is designed to exploit your empathy for personal gain not to be part of a bigger solution. This is why I don't see dramas based on horrible events such as the Holocaust although I have seen several documentaries about that darkest human tragedy. But to each his/her own.

Anonymous said...

This sounds cool. I lived there for a while in the mid- to late-80s. I'll have to see if The Strand has this book.

Anonymous said...

I missed this post in August but I just read Christadora and . . . it's one of the very best novels I've read recently and quite a surprise. The fictional East Village world in Christadora is, from my point of view--from around the corner from the Christadora building during most of the years covered by Christadora, the novel--one of the most accurate and insightful depictions of life in the East Village that I've read. I learned a great deal about the AIDS crisis reading Christadora and I felt it was a period I knew fairly well. I suspect I've read Tim Murphy articles over the years but Christadora is the first fiction by him I've read. Some novels synthesize the history and sociology of the people they depict in ways that make the reader rethink their own world. Christadora is, at least for me, one of those novels. I'm not a big Dickens fan but Tim Murphy digs into our neighborhood at almost a Dickens-level. (I'm sure there are other novelists than Dickens that I should compare Murphy to but . . . the best comparison I've seen was in a Amazon review that said "This is the novel that Michael Cummingham wishes he had written." which seems about right.) The characters, their concerns, and their lives are not only recognizable, they, like characters in Dickens seem to be alive, to move through the book responding to the forces that shape our real life worlds. There's a directness in Christadora about the AIDS crisis that I've only experienced from talking to people or reading diaries/memoirs.

In short, this reader, who works in publishing and lives in the East Village, highly recommends Christadora. I _only_ checked it out of the NYPL because I saw the cover of the book out of the corner of my eye and thought "Hey, that's the Christadora. Cool. Maybe I'll learn something about the Christadora." My expectations were low and 50 pages in, I was waiting for the book to peter out but it continued to grow on my me and by the end, it was one of my favorite recent novels.