|3.5 stars out of 5|
From Anakana Schofield, the brilliant and unconventional author of Malarky, comes a dark, humorous and uncomfortable novel circuiting through the minds, motivations, and preoccupations of a character many women have experienced, but few up until now, have understood quite so well. The result confirms Schofield as one of the bravest and most innovative authors at work in English today.
Another entry on my “Horrible Humans” shelf. Martin John is certainly not someone you would want to be Facebook friends with. He is a creepy sexual offender of the nuisance variety, although as I read the author planted just enough doubt into my mind that, by book’s end, I was pretty certain that he would be destined for worse crimes if he remained uninterrupted.
I was unsure of the time period of this book. The only pop culture references were to the Eurovision singing competition (which MJ is obsessed with) which I guess would put it into the last decade. He is a walking catalog of psychological problems—obsession, hoarding, ritualistic behaviour, among other things. It also becomes obvious to the reader that his family, such as it is, is a part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
The writing style was unique, sometimes with only a few words to a page. There was a chaotic aspect of it that seemed to mirror Martin John’s mental state at the given time. More orderly towards the beginning of the book as he is going to work and dealing with roommates, less so as he acquires a housemate that he comes to distrust and fear.
An interesting spelunking expedition into the dark cave of mental illness and human motivation.