Author(s): Nicola Barker
Fiction | No Category
The hilarious Man Booker-longlisted novel from the author of 'Darkmans' and 'The Burley Cross Postbox Theft'. 2006 is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Tiger Woods' reputation is entirely untarnished and the English Defence League does not exist. But storm-clouds are gathering above the bar of the less-than-exclusive Thistle Hotel in Luton. Among those caught up in the unfolding drama are a man who's survived cancer seven times, a woman priest with an unruly fringe, the troubled family of a notorious local fascist, an interfering barmaid with three E's at A-level but a PhD in bullshit, a free-thinking Muslim sex therapist and his considerably more pious wife. But at the heart of every intrigue and the bottom of every mystery is the repugnantly charismatic Stuart Ransom - a golf star in free-fall.
'Barker is ostensibly a comic writer, and is indeed snort-inducingly funny at times ... What's more - just about uniquely in this country - she is thinking intelligently and critically about how to make [a realist] tradition work in the present day. But it's not for her virtue that she deserves to be read; it's for pleasure.' Keith Miller, Daily Telegraph 'There are moments when Stuart Ransom has the vulgar bravura of John Self in Martin Amis's 'Money' ... but Barker is unique and it's for the pleasures of her style that one reads her.' Kate Kellaway, Observer 'Dementedly imaginative ... stomach-turningly hilarious ... What she has written is a state of the nation novel of the sort Dickens and Hogarth might have jointly conjured up had they ever visited Luton.' Michael Prodger, Financial Times 'Barker is at once sui generis and the Google-age inheritor of a tradition. The first third or so of the book gives us a Chaucerian sketch show sequence of comic set-pieces ... then it takes a left turn into Shakespeare territory' Sam Leith, Guardian 'Barker captures - and lovingly distorts - both the rhythms and banality of language. She is, as it were, Harold Pinter on crack' Justin Cartwright, The Spectator 'A specialist in likeable British grotesques ... wackier siblings to those in Hilary Mantel's 'Beyond Black'. 'The Yips' cannot be faulted for its free-flowing imagination' Tom Cox, Independent.
Nicola Barker's eight previous novels include 'Darkmans' (short-listed for the 2007 Booker and Ondaatje prizes, and winner of the Hawthornden), 'Wide Open' (winner of the 2000 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award) and 'Clear' (long-listed for the Booker Prize in 2004). She has also written two prize-winning collections of short-stories, and her work has been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in east London.