Zonal by Don Paterson review – rich, masked musings on midlife crisis

The prize-winning poet’s new collection, inspired by The Twilight Zone, is a witty, wily hall of mirrors There is a scene in the black-and-white sci-fi TV programme The Twilight Zone , created by Rod Serling, where a character is unmasked only to reveal a second mask beneath the first. Don Paterson’s new collection, partly inspired by the 1959-1960 first series of the show, is rather like this. In its opening pages, he issues a teasing warning. He writes that readers should not be deceived by what might be assumed to be his confessional tone: “It isn’t, except on those occasions when it is.” The first thing one has to feel comfortable with is the knowledge that Paterson will not wear his heart on his sleeve, that he is more likely to borrow a sleeve than to let us know, directly, what it is he is feeling and that any emotional authenticity – or the fleeting confessions to which he alludes – are to be dispensed via a fantastical autobiographical hybrid, a mix of disclosure and disguise. The idea of the