Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

San Francisco Chronicle publishes excellent, insightful review praising Malarky

A piece of criticism is required to be an engaging piece of writing in its own right. Increasingly reviews are devoid of ideas and the frames of reference have become painfully narrow, such engagement is only to be found in the longer form essay or critique. 

The San Francisco Chronicle published a review in their Sunday edition (July 3, 2012) that not only strongly praises Malarky but more importantly considers it and considers it coherently. And even more significantly the review, even within the confines of today’s newspaper word counts, manages to contain ideas.

“Malarky” is very much a book about sexuality and sexual frustration, but it is more fundamentally about the blinkers life puts on a person. Smart and absurdly proactive as Our Woman can be, she remains unable to see certain parts of herself or push through the illusions that her marriage has taught her. Schofield brings in a clearly political element when these illusions pertain to her soldier son, yet, throughout, “Malarky” makes a more subtle critique: failing to see past the margins of one’s understandings invites a failure of the imagination that hurts those you love, or attempt to.

Potent and fresh as this is, “Malarky” becomes truly compelling when Our Woman embodies an existential strangeness. In certain moments, we are not so far from Beckett’s Molloy – Our Woman comes close to enlivening not only the political and the personal but also the human.

Click here to read Scott Esposito’s San Francisco Chronicle review.

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