This Is Not A Review of TJ Benson’s ‘The Madhouse’

The chaotic product of a riotous mind.

Image by Innocent Chizaram Ilo

‘The Madhouse’ has one rule; I do not want to be understood. This rule echoes throughout warped plots that explore how time and bodies recollect the memories of war and violence, the innocence of children and how abruptly this said innocence is stripped away from them, and characters who transcend imaginations of what a person or a people should or can be. Yes, the characters. I struggled to like them, to understand them; the trajectories of their lives, their choices, and the consequences of these choices. I failed in the end and it is perfectly fine.

Although there is a Morrisonian aura hanging above this novel (think of the utterly beautiful mess called ‘Song of Solomon’), Tj’s uniqueness of style, which mimicks a possessed artist running amok a canvas with their paintbrush, still shines through. This is a writer who knows a story well, too well, and is determined to tell it purely on his own terms and at a pace so luxurious.

Go ahead and check out the Nigerian and South African edition of this novel.

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