Literature Barker, Nicola Darkmans

ISBN 13: 9780007193622

Darkmans

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( 1,752 ratings by GoodReads )
 
9780007193622: Darkmans

From the author of The Yips and Burley Cross Postbox Theft comes an epic novel of startling originality.

If history is a sick joke which keeps on repeating, then who keeps on telling it? Could it be John Scogin, Edward IV's jester, whose favourite skit was to burn people alive? Or could it be Andrew Boarde, physician to Henry VIII, who wrote John Scogin's biography? Or could it be a Kurd called Gaffar whose days are blighted by an unspeakable terror of salad? Or a beautiful bulimic with brittle bones? Or a man who guards Beckley Woods with a Samurai sword and a pregnant terrier?

Darkmans is a very modern book, set in ridiculously modern Ashford, about two old-fashioned subjects: love and jealousy. And the main character? The past, creeping up on the present and whispering something quite dark into its ear.

Darkmans is the third of Nicola Barker's visionary Thames Gateway novels. Following Wide Open (winner Dublin IMPAC award 2000) and Behindlings it confirms one of Britain's most original literary talents.

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Review:

'When a new novel by Nicola Barker arrives, there is a host of reasons to break into a smile. Chief among them is that she is one of the most exhilarating, audacious and, for want of a better word, ballsy writers of her generation. And, in a publishing terrain that often inhibits ambition and promotes homogeneity, there is nobody writing quite like her.' Alex Clark, Observer

'Inventive, witty and well staged.' Hugo Barnacle, Sunday
Times

'Surging energy… natural, comic, moving and even scary.' Telegraph

'Determinedly experimental…Barker is good at capturing the bizarre things people say and there are some very funny moments.' Times

‘A novel of prestigious craft, energy, risk sleight of hand and linguistic generosity and acuity.’ Ali Smith, in the Observer ‘Books of the Year’

'There is a constant sense she might launch us into the minds of one of her psychotics and leave us there, and this gives her books a fearsome energy.' Independent

'Rich, sensual, almost synaesthetic powers of description and association.' Times Literary Supplement

'Each of her works brims with electricity, energy and invention, with rude humour, originality and contrariness. Who else but Barker would produce an 838-page epic with little describable plot, taking place over just a few days and set in – wait for it – Ashford? For that's what “Darkmans” is, and it is phenomenally good. Barker is a great, restless novelist, and “Darkmans” is a great restless novel. At the end of 838 blinding, High-octane pages, I was bereft that there weren't 838 more.' Patrick Ness, Guardian

'An idiosyncratic, witty and utterly original vision of Albion.' Independent

'Barker is an extraordinary writer, we're lucky to be alive at the same time as her. She's one of the few people who can put the words "novel" and "form" together and make something we haven't caught up with yet, that's completely new. She's a glorious writer. I hope she wins the Booker Prize.' The Scotsman

About the Author:

Nicola Barker was born in Ely in 1966 and spent part of her childhood in South Africa. She lives and works in east London. She was the winner of the David Higham Prize for Fiction and joint winner of the Macmillan Silver Pen Award for Love Your Enemies, her first collection of stories (1993). Her first novel Reversed Forecast was published in 1994 and a short novel Small Holdings followed in 1995. A second collection of short stories Heading Inland, for which Nicola received an Arts Council Writers’ Award, and received the 1997 John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday Prize. Her story ‘Symbiosis’ was filmed and broadcast on BBC2; another story, ‘Dual Balls’, was commissioned for broadcast on Channel 4 and shortlisted for a BAFTA Award. Her third novel Wide Open was published in 1998, and won the English-speaking world’s biggest literary award for a single work, the IMPAC Prize. In 2000 she published another short novel, Five Miles from Outer Hope. Her fifth novel, Behindlings, was published in 2002 and the following novel, Clear, was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2004. Darkmans, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2007, the 2008 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Award and won the Hawthornden Prize for 2008. Most recently, Barker's work THE YIPS has been longlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2012. She was named as one of the 20 Best Young British Novelists by Granta in 2005. Her work has been translated into over a dozen languages.

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Nicola Barker
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