Journey To A Dantean Inferno - Review Of M.G. Sanchez’s Gooseman

A review of M. G. Sanchez’s new novel Gooseman, published today, 9 December 2020.

By Humbert Hernandez

GOOSEMAN, the latest novel of celebrated Gibraltarian author M. G. Sanchez, is a meticulous record of a young man’s rites of passage. Set first in Gibraltar and later in the UK, it is a riveting study of a social misfit’s growth and ruin in his bid to secure an acceptable and accepted place in society.

Without giving much away, I can say that GOOSEMAN tells the story of Johann Guzman, the only child to a macho, drunken father who is openly disgusted by his son’s inability to become an alpha male, and of an over-anxious and over-protective half-Spanish mother. The result is an insecure child, a loner, an oddity who is unable to connect with his peers at school. Shy, introverted and timorous, he grows up full of doubts and given to self-inflicting harm with a razor. Eventually, he realizes that nothing short of a break and a new start away from his home environment can effect a salutary change and a “cure”.  And so he escapes to London, where he obtains employment at a North London McDonalds and dabbles with drugs, sex and alcohol, embarking on a vicious downward spiral that will consign him to the lowest circle of a Dantean inferno. I can assure the reader that the novel’s ending will leave them, as it left me, breathless and in a state of shock and revulsion.

Having enjoyed immensely Sanchez’s other stories and novels, I can honestly say that GOOSEMAN displays a mastery of form, a width of observation, an unspoken ferocity and a controlled ruthlessness only found in high-flying writers. Sanchez is an excellent craftsman when tackling themes of loneliness, exile and exploring and exposing moral issues. He clinically dissects the underbelly of our communities, both in Gibraltar and in the UK – revealing a society marked by flag-waving and kow-towing colonial servility in the former, and an atomised and senselessly nationalistic post-Brexit world in the latter. GOOSEMAN is a tale full of grinning idiots and devoid of solid moral values. Sanchez’s command of language, of localisms, slang and colloquialisms give this novel a realism and a raciness which is hard to beat. It is a tale impossible to put down once you read the first sentences. It is so compelling and true-to-life. Every page a revelation. Chapeau to you, M. G. Sanchez!

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Gooseman can be bought on Amazon by clicking on this link.