BOOK REVIEW: Cripple by Nick Maynard

May 1, 2021


Nick Maynard

This book is written in an interesting style so you can – literally – flip the narrative anyway you choose.  Its fiction and formulated in a staccato way; filled with footnotes and appendix, explanatories and feels fragmentary, because it is, but also fluid in a creative unsettled kind of way. Like listening to a story being told, one you know, but which is presented in a different way, shifting perspective, narrator, time or geography so you skip around the meaning in long narrative arcs, always in view of the protagonists but with the light and shade of the passing of the day altering the way you see them.  It’s certainly a book setting a very high bar for itself that it doesn’t always reach, although this no criticism of the ideas, the book would benefit from the attention of a constructive editor and the depiction of dialogue is clunky in parts.

The plot is pretty simple, Carol and Jonathan live together, mother and son, career and cared for, able bodied and quadriplegic. They have the same windows they look out of, onto the same world, a rather delightfully portrayed Manchester of 20 years ago. What they see and how they wrap and warp that into their own lives, dreams and narratives give this book its momentum. It’s a story about hope and needs, about unexpressed queer desire and how a stranger can become a focus for a world out of reach.  The author knows Manchester very well and captures it’s brick lined streets and rain streaked patina magnificently, the city becomes a character all its own.  Each chapter has a Rune, suggesting perhaps casting a handful of runes, leading to some kind of meta reading or randomness.

As the book moves through your hands the author parses what it means to be mobile, broken, stuck, desired, loved and the various ways the human mind finds exuberant flights of astonishing freedom, breaking the bonds of physical limitations to find a raw honest expression of self. Like the reader, this book is not perfect but it wants to be loved, as do the main protagonists, and that urgent burning desire is much to be admired.

Out now £11.99

For more info or to oder the book see here