Gaylife Magazine | Manchester

Cripple: The first broken book

Set in Manchester in 2003, Jonathan is a twenty-two-year-old quadriplegic and Carol is his mother and carer. From their windows, they both see a young man at a bus stop. From their windows they both – independently – embark on fantasy relationships with the young man.

What’s it about?

This is a parable for the 21st Century that explores the concept of virtual relationships and asks questions about their validity. Are these relationships any less real or meaningful than the ones we choose to conduct in the physical world? What’s if we can’t conduct ‘traditional’ relationships? Does that mean we shouldn’t look for alternative ways to fall in love?

Who is the author?

I’m a gay writer, born and brought up in the north of England. I now live and work in Manchester. My work isn’t for everyone and you either love it or hate it – and that’s fine – because I don’t write for everyone. As a kid growing up, I wanted to find work that spoke to me. Few books did… In the end, I created my own stories. Everything I do is to fill that void.

What makes this book different?

Once upon a time… When storytellers told their tales by the open fire – inquisitive listeners would often ask for an explanation, clarification or extra information about the tale they were being told. The storyteller would then break off from the story to provide that. In effect, every storytelling experience was different, even if the story was the same. The listener’s interaction with the storyteller ‘broke’ the story and made it unique to them. My book tries to emulate that dislocation and fragmentation of storytelling, making each reader’s experience of the book unique to them, and allowing the same book to be re-read differently every time, based on how the reader chooses to read it at that given moment. If you are queer, crippled or broken, and you’ve ever lived in Manchester then you need to buy this book.

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