The squeamish, beware: the horrors – both real and imagined – that the protagonists inflict and experience in Devin Krukoff's
Hummingbird (Freehand Books) and Anakana Schofield's Martin John (Biblioasis) will set you on the very edge. We look at what unites and divides these reads, below.
Then That: Martin John by Anakana Schofield (Biblioasis)
The unreliable narrator is one of literature's seasoned veterans: but there's always an opportunity to refresh the trope. Both narrators in Devin Krukoff's Hummingbird and Anakana Schofield's Martin John ping between the present, past, and – in Hummingbird's case – "future" as they piece together traumas they inflicted and suffered alike.
In Hummingbird, main character Felix Mallory suffers a rare condition: he jumps forward in the future without any recollection of what he did – or who he met – in the intervening time. Felix's lapses grow increasingly longer and more erratic, and happenings in his apartment get more confusing during the times he is conscious. He throws his waking efforts into finding one person: a webcam worker with a tattoo of a hummingbird on her thigh. As they continue to cross paths in stranger and stranger ways, and more people are drawn into his orbit, Felix is forced to reckon with his condition as ghosts from his past are dredged up.
Martin John begins similarly to Hummingbird but the eponymous Martin follows a different path: while Felix strives to lead a normal life as more people are pulled into his orbit, Martin John's external environs and inner monologue become more chaotic. Snippets of dark memories from abuse he'd suffered as a child and a uniquely violent act committed in a doctor's office coalesce with Martin's sexual deviancy, his strict adherence to routine, and a mounting paranoia about his housemate, who he only refers to as "Baldy Conscience."
We couldn't say that either book is an "easy" or "light" read – but they'll captivate you all the same. We've mapped out more of their similarities and differences, below.
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