What to say about Martin John by Anakana Schofield? It’s odd, it’s dark, it’s kind of funny in a slightly twisted way, it’s written in an unconventional style, and it’s really good.
Martin John Gaffney, is from somewhere in the West of Ireland, but he lives in London, banished there by his mother for an unnamed misdemeanour that made girl’s brothers beat him up. He’s not a nice protagonist, or maybe he is just inadequate and somewhat deserving of our sympathy. This conflict runs through the book. His mother likewise. Deserving of sympathy or contempt – not quite decided a few hours after I have finished the book.
The writing style is unconventional, but it works, for the most part. Anakana Schofield has created a character that makes the reader uncomfortable but intrigued. She writes about a subject matter that probably makes the average reader a bit more uncomfortable than a bit of good old-fashioned honest murder. She manages to make those of us with a slightly perverse sense of humour laugh from time to time (or at least find the humour in some certain situations).
If you hated The Wasp Factory, then avoid this. If you want everything spelt out for you, with a nice tidy ending, then avoid this. Everyone else, give it a go. Its great. Really. Ok it’s twisted. Its complicated and there is a certain amount left unsaid and you need to draw some conclusions of your own.
If you’re female it might be best you don’t read it on public transport
I don’t know if its wonderful, but it will stick with you for a while. I’m off to find something lighter to read next.