cover image The Folded Man

The Folded Man

Matt Hill. Sandstone Press (Dufour, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-908737-34-2

In Hill’s frightening dystopian vision of Britain’s near future, the state has collapsed, leaving marauding vigilante nationalist gangs to ravish the northern postindustrial wasteland. Our guide to a grim 2018 is Brian Meredith; broken, disabled, and a junkie, he is “half a man with itches to scratch,” a noirish protagonist perhaps who perhaps transforms into a merman. When his dealer friend Noah recruits him in the crooked task of pretending to be a disabled army veteran, in the hopes of spying on a corporate tech convention, Brian becomes the possessor of a mysterious box, which unknown forces seem hell-bent on taking at any cost. Yet “the box is a mirror,” and so is the novel, a grotesque reflection of the ills that plague contemporary Britain. The book inhabits a world that echoes the militarization, the racism, and the strife of our age. When presented with the ability to abandon his timeline for one in which Britain has not come apart, Brian says no: “Because you love your country in spite of your country.” Some combination of Raymond Chandler, Trainspotting, and Philip K. Dick, Hill’s unsettling novel is not an escapist fantasy, but rather a call to arms, a plea to change the future. (Oct.)