Man­cu­nian mis­ery

SFX - - Reviews -

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.

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