Matt Hill - The Folded Man (3 stars)

Transgressive fiction that keeps us shuddering for Britain's future

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Matt Hill - The Folded Man

Sandstone Press

Part science-fiction, part horror, Matt Hill’s debut depicts a war-torn near-future Britain poisoned by nationalism and racism. Using current anxieties over riots, terrorism and the recession as a springboard for clever satire, Hill makes weighty topics accessible through a Palahniukian minimalist staccato style and the odd charm of anti-hero, Brian Meredith.

Planting the seed of body horror often found in transgressive fiction, the novel opens with Meredith exploring the congenital condition that caused his legs to fuse together. He gets by on a mixture of mermaid origin myth, drugs, prostitutes, and ritual self-harm before being forced into circumstances that spiral into violence and transformation.

The narrative doesn’t quite hold together, resulting in a collection of scenes rather than a disciplined story arc. This makes The Folded Man a frustrating read, as the rhythmic writing style is perfect, and some scenes are so brilliantly dark, perverse and engaging that your skin tingles with excitement. Despite not quite hitting the mark, there is more than a glimmer of something great in The Folded Man. Matt Hill is one to watch out for.

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