Martin John by Anakana Schofield review: humane method in story of madness

Irish-Canadian writes about mental illness with peculiar decency and candour in this caustically funny novel, says Eileen Battersby

Mam is at her wit’s end. In fact, she may have given up. She likes to think she hasn’t. After all, aside from all the praying – including an approach made to St Jude – she believes in Martin John: “Someday he’ll come home to me. He’ll come home when he’s failing or an old fella and I’ll be waiting.”

Mam did get him out of Ireland to England and away from whatever it was that happened at the dentist’s office. All he had to do was visit Aunt Noanie every Wednesday, only he didn’t stick to the routine. And then there was the job; he made a mess of that.

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