From the first page you know something is wrong with Martin John. Is he intellectually challenged or is it something more serious, something worse. The author expertly gradually reveals the truth about him. John is not an easy book; Schofield’s portrays a character who’s inner life is seldom seen, a sexual deviant.
“Martin John has made mistakes. Check my card. Rain will fall. Harm was done. It put me in the Chair.”
““Flashing is a very angry act. Coats can drift. Open. That’s what coats are like. That’s what women like, open coats and a quick face full of him. He likes it too. He likes what they like.”
His mother, “mam,” doesn’t “want to hear it” when her son calls and talks nonsense. Keep your head down and avoid all women, she cautions. The overbearing mam resorts to tying her sick son to his bedroom chair to protect him, and others, from his predatory act.
A woman was assaulted by Martin John in a dentist’s waiting area when she was only 12. Now, 20 years later, “whenever she is nervous for her children, she remembers.” She had tried to report him, but the receptionist refused to corroborate her story. “It was a time when people didn’t see stuff. That was the time it was.”
Schofield’s style of writing in short, brief sentences is unusual pointing to the unconventional differences that are Marin’s psyche.
Martin John has been nominated for the Giller Prize.