twitter facebook

YOU RESIST? Doing the right thing
is often obscured by the need to survive

THE BOAT RUNNER is a sweeping story of a wealthy Dutch family, industrious owners of a light bulb factory in a small town, whose world is upended over the course the WWII Nazi occupation. As the family struggles to stay whole, we follow the youngest son through the forests of France, the stormy beaches of England, and deep within the secret missions of the German Navy, as he is confronted with the moral dilemma that will change his life forever. This is a novel that explores the true cost of war and questions what national borders really mean when weighed against a single human heart.

The Boat Runner by Devin Murphy

The Boat Runner

Available September 5, 2017

Order online at these locations:

Accolades for The Boat Runner

Devin Murphy's fantastic debut novel The Boat Runner is a lot of things – thrilling, tragic, well-paced – but maybe most of all, timely. With prose reminiscent of Per Petterson, The Boat Runner is a book that asks its reader, When does a person stand up? When does a normal person take action? And how does a person resist against overwhelming power? The Boat Runner is a satisfying page-turner, sure, but it is also an allegory for our time, a reminder of world war not so long ago, when fishermen, factory owners, children, and mothers became reluctant heroes, standing bravely against a sudden and twisted evil.

Nickolas Butler
Nickolas Butler internationally best-selling author of
Shotgun Lovesongs and The Hearts of Men

Murphy is a rare writer whose prose rings with authority and beauty as it weaves the devastating story of children coming of age in the darkest hours of the twentieth century. Every page is alive with discovery, surprise, and ultimately, the mystery of what drives the human heart. The electricity which sets this story on its journey continues to crackle and spark long after the lights begin to go out across Europe, one after another, until we finally understand the cost and meaning of resistance, our only weapon against the tyranny that threatens to destroy civilization. This is an unforgettable tale of human triumph.

Jonis Agee
Jonis Agee author of The Bones of Paradise

Devin Murphy's The Boat Runner is staggering. An epic and unknown story of World War II, it lays bare the moral impossibilities families face when bombs begin to fall. Masterful prose pairs with an uncommon sense for emotional complexity–here, Murphy renders both exploding warships and the deepest quandaries of the human heart with equal grace, with equal force. In The Boat Runner, Devin Murphy has given us a much-needed tale of redemption in dark times. Its truths will be with me for a long while.

Nicholas Mainieri
Nicholas Mainieri author of The Infinite

Poignant...acts as a cautionary tale for our own times... The young Dutch boy Jacob Koopman, together with his family, lives in the middle of a morality tale, in which doing the right thing is often obscured by the need to survive. Devin Murphy has given us a moving, powerful and important work.

Joseph Kertes
Joseph Kertes author of The Afterlife of Stars and Gratitude,
winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction

Devin Murphy Biography

Devin Murphy grew up near Buffalo, NY in a family with Dutch roots. He holds a BA/MA from St. Bonaventure University, an MFA from Colorado State University, a PhD from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Bradley University. He has worked various jobs in national parks around the country and once had a three–year stint at sea that led him to over fifty countries on all seven continents. His fiction has appeared in over 60 literary journals and anthologies, including The Missouri Review, Glimmer Train, The Chicago Tribune, New Stories from the Midwest, and Confrontation. He lives with his wife and children in Chicago.

Work / Publications

  • New Stories From the MidwestLevi's Recession
  • Appalachian Heritage – Pilgrims
  • The Chicago Quarterly Review – Those Other Lovely Lives
  • The Great Lakes Magazine – Finding Ro–Ro
  • 2 Bridges Review – The Only Boy on the Moon
  • Worker's Write! #11. Tales From The Coliseum – Men in Masks
  • REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters – The End of the Road Movie Marathon; Dumpster Bear; The Traveling Roshannas
  • The Caribbean Writer – Fireflies
  • The Chicago Tribune, Printer's Row Journal – The Brooks Range
  • Yemassee – Sugar and Priscilla
  • Cutthroat – The House Carpenter's Daughter
  • Harper Palate – Controlled Burn
  • Glimmer Train – Levi's Recession
  • Deep South Magazine – Fireflies
  • After Hours – The End of the Road Movie Marathon
  • The Pinch – The Picture of us in Mexico
  • The Toad Suck Review – A Reading from The Book of Tides
  • The MacGuffin – The Relative
  • New Madrid – Our One Year of Knowing the World
  • The Notre Dame Review – Don Quixote and the House of Saturn
  • Shenandoah – On the Mountain
  • Blood and Honey Review – Reasonable and Prudent
  • Birmingham Arts Journal – Counting Cars
  • Matter – His Life with Animals
  • The MacGuffin – Counting Cars
  • The Cimarron Review – Off Dead Hawk Highway
  • Confrontation – The Olean Football Roster
  • Zone 3 – The Names of Wind
  • Fast Forward Press, Fast Forward, vol. 4 – The Armenian Flyer
  • The Dos Passos Review – The Jumping Sampson
  • Ghost Ocean – Bud Light
  • Palooka – On the Side of the Road
  • The Barrier Island Review– Warmth
  • The South Dakota Review– The Wolf of Gubbio
  • Vulcan – Wrestling The Bear
  • NEO Literary Magazine – The Transportation of Watermelons
  • The MacGuffin – The Turtle's Moon
  • The Greensboro Review – Skinboy
  • The Missouri Review – The Linkage of Bone
  • Fast Forward Press, Fast Forward, vol. 3 – Marge
  • The Delinquent – Seizure Dog
  • The Road to Elsewhere – Newts
  • Glossolalia – There's Something Wrong
  • R.kv.r.y Literary Quarterly Journal – A Tub of Vaseline
  • 303 Magazine – Deidra in the Tub
  • Many Mountains Moving – Augustine's Mountains – my first publication ever – 2008.
  • The Good Men ProjectSmall Movements
  • Being: What Makes a Man – The Downhill Mountain Man
  • The New Ohio Review – Take Your Trash and Make it Fly
  • PANK Magazine – Dr. John's

Contact Say Hello

I love connecting with readers and book clubs in person in the Chicagoland area or virtually via Skype or FaceTime so feel free to reach out. I am also happy to judge a contest, teach a workshop, or give lectures to any size venue.

Twitter: @boatrunnerbook
Instagram: Murphydt232
Goodreads: Devin_Murphy

Book Club/Reading Group Discussion questions
for The Boat Runner

Agent: Rayhané Sanders

Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents
27 West 20th Street, Suite 305
New York, NY 10011
212.352.2059 F