The Outgoing Man | Granta

  • Published: 11/05/2006
  • ISBN: 9781846270024
  • 128x20mm
  • 208 pages

The Outgoing Man

Glen Neath

Glen Neath’s writings holds echoes of that of Magnus Mills, Franz Kafka and Paul Auster. His debut novel, The Outgoing Man, a disarming, unsettling fable of unspecified threat and comic unease, featuring an Outgoing Man briefing an Incoming Man at his point of entry into a murky organization, has all the freshness and pop of the genuinely original, and is largely beyond paraphrase. Its characters inhabit a place rich in the usual office rivalries, romances and resentments, but never can the reader be sure exactly what it is that the organization organizes or produces … It is a dark, itchy and, now and then, laugh-out-loud funny tale.

It's like being stuck in a lift with a deadpan comedian, waiting for a punchline that never comes. You have to keep going, or you risk losing any grip. Neath is a promising writer. His nameless narrator is a genuine creation. His bewildered, slightly embarrassed account of events, particularly of a cack-handed attempt at seduction, is very cleanly and clearly rendered, and there are some nice, surreal turns of phrase... it's enjoyable as a parody of almost every Kafka-Pinter nightmare you've ever read... The fun here is in following the bumbling brain-waves of the speaker.


A clever, leftfield debut... surreally witty, it recalls the same European sense of experiment at work in Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco and Magnus Mills...


Quirky and blackly satirical, The Outgoing Man emanates a Kafka-esque stench of stagnation and claustrophobia. Neath shows how even the most banal kinds of human interaction take us deep into the realms of the insane, the surreal and the grotesque.

Time Out

The Author

Glen Neath was born in Yorkshire and is a leading experimental playwright, whose works have been staged on four continents. His novels are The Outgoing Man and The Fat Plan.

More about the author →