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Harm Was Done: Subversive Sympathy in Anakana Schofield’s MARTIN JOHN: Ploughshares

In her second book, a kind of footnote to her debut novel Malarky, Anakana Schofield presents us with Martin John, a sexual offender hiding out in London having fled the West of Ireland. Told by a corrupt, collective chorus, the novel details Martin John’s compulsive, constrained psychology as well as that of his mother and, for a few devastating pages, one of his victims. Where does Martin John sit in relation to such works as Nabokov’s Lolita and A.M. Homes’ The End of Alice, and what role do such works serve?

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Sue Rainsford