released OUT NOW! 448 pages | Paperback/ ebook
Author Matt Hill
Publisher Angry Robot Books
Graft takes place in the same world as another novel, 2013’ s The Folded Man, but according to author Matt Hill, it’s not a sequel. It’s largely set in a near- future Manchester where society has deteriorated towards complete and total breakdown, and follows a mechanic who finds a woman wrapped in cling film in a car boot... who’s still alive, and has a third arm.
Despite its thriller elements, this isn’t a thriller. It’s more a morose character study, centred on a tiny cast: the mechanic and the woman ( who’s being trafficked, but in very strange circumstances), a hitman and a bitter brothel owner. Despite having little explicit content, it’s also a physical, sticky study of places and bodies, finding rhymes between the brothel and the mechanic’s workshop, between the bodies of cars and the three-armed cyborg woman.
Hill’s prose is strong, but tends to overbalance into feyness. Its foundations – the setting, story and characters – just aren’t compelling enough to support a book that’s over 400 pages long. The first half is very disjointed, though the end, which alternates between heroics in another world and dirty daily life, is good. It’s an original vision, but you may find it hard graft. Andrew Osmond
Visit Manchester Art Gallery from 13 February- 5 June and you can see an installation Matt Hill collaborated on.