HANGMAN by Maya Binyam
We often take for granted the narrative hooks that anchor us to a text. Character. Place. Plot. The sorts of things most authors bend over backwards to establish. With a audacious dash of chutzpah, Maya Binyam eschews them all in her beguiling debut, Hangman. For the most part, it’s a story stripped of these defining characteristics. An unnamed narrator boards a plane, with a ticket he didn’t buy, bound for a place we know - at least at first - nothing about. Turns out it’s the land of his birth. Where it is… who can tell? Who is he? Meh… not important.
Hangman is a deftly-crafted exercise in dislocation; a metaphor for the immigrant experience and the porousness of belonging. There is a surreal edge to its action with every observation taking on a sense of wonder - people and places unrecognisable to the narrator, inexorably changed or newly built since he was last there. We come to know bits about him and his story but they are ultimately irrelevant. I’m still unsure what to make of the whole thing, but if you’re after a dreamscape puzzle-box, and don’t mind getting lost in the haze, Hangman is a surefire bet.
Hangman by Maya Binyam