THE FOLDING MAN by Brian Howell


This shocked me, and I am not easily shocked. It shocked me, too, because I even thought I fully grasped what it fetched me against my will; it made a near sex-dead, near dead (full stop) body actually feel something for the first time in ages, the plot’s sexual aspects, its ‘oneiric’ ‘origami’, and the man, I thought somehow was called Keith, until I saw Keith Jarrett mentioned later and I checked back to see the man had no name, with his wife and daughter, the latter with her origami tableaux, say of a damsel fly, if not a wicker one, in parallel with his masseuse and her daughter, and the ‘play-acting’ as his body was folded and refolded, and I even wondered whether I did indeed grasp anything at all, but I do not wish to dwell on it in case I do grasp it fully. A rhombus of four women, two nymphets and two women. But who was whom? The geometry of sensuality’s fleshy-origami, via towel-prim dissection in Rembrandt, even ‘sixteenth century English miniatures’ as mobile phones seem too small for what they do, leading to a direct, almost inner-AI, contact with YouTube domes and Facebooking, a direct contact, via words, of truly felt SEX as an acronym of our in-the-head times while tantalisingly  digging into the ever impossible gap between scrotum and thigh. And elsewhere. 

I need to read it again, but I won’t.


This story can be found in a brand new Brian Howell collection from Salt Publishing entitled THE MAN WHO LOVED KURAS

My previous reviews of Brian Howell:

My ongoing reviews of single stories by living authors:

Best British Short Stories 2018


Series editor NICHOLAS ROYLE
(My previous reviews of this writer are linked from HERE)

(My previous reviews of this publisher are HERE)

Stories by Colette de Curzon, Adam O’Riordan, Jane McLaughlin, William Thirsk-Gaskill, Alison MacLeod, Adrian Slatcher, M John Harrison, Jo Mazelis, Conrad Williams, Kelly Creighton, Wyl Menmuir, Owen Booth, Tania Hershman, Mike Fox, Brian Howell, CD Rose, Chloe Turner, Eley Williams, Lisa Tuttle, Ian Robinson.

When I read this book, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…