by Anakana Schofield
This is a strange novel about a strange man. Schofield uses a fractured structure to inhabit a fractured mind. It’s a disturbing read, as it should be considering the topics it covers. It’s also occasionally funny, in a very very dark way.
Martin John is an Irishman living in London. He’s obsessive compulsive, fixated on certain people and he knows his coping mechanisms can only help him for so long. The degree to which this is a disturbing tale is at first obscured by the odd experimental narrative. It is written in the plural first person. It jumps in time. It questions itself and lists rules. It rarely uses full sentences. It is a lot like a Greek chorus in a play.
“He does not believe that people who go off bridges can be saved. He believes it’s reasonable to want to go over the side of a bridge. He does not believe people fundamentally change. He has struggled with this himself. Has he tried? We do not know. There are some things we aren’t going to know about Martin John.”