[March 30, 1966 - ]
Five Miles from Outer Hope
It's the summer of 1981. You're stuck in
semi-derelict hotel on a tiny island off the coast of Devon. You're 16
years old and there's nothing to do but dream and wait for Soft Cell's
"Tainted Love" to come out, until a ginger stranger arrives, stinking of
Winner 2000 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
As winner of the highly prestigious IMPAC
International Dublin Literary Award, Wide Open beat out books by
such masters as Toni Morrison,
Phillip Roth, and
It is truly extraordinary work of fiction, taking readers into a small
English seaside town, and into the minds and hearts of its remarkable
inhabitants -- a man named Ronny, weed killer by trade, who has some
strange things in common with a man he finds dangling from a bridge;
Nathan, the son of a pedophile, who toils in the Underground's Lost
Property department, endlessly logging missing items; Sara, purveyor of
her family boar farm, and Lily, her teenage daughter, tragically born with
unformed organs and blood that refuses to clot. Starkly original and at
turns hilarious, sad, and hopeful, Wide Open brilliantly displays
Nicola Barker's delightfully singular literary talent.
A comedy of errors featuring a mixture of quirky
characters. A group of gardeners in a London park find themselves in
crisis as an important meeting with the council looms.
An account of a week full of strange coincidences
which affect the lives of Ruby and Sylvia. At the centre of the novel is
the unforgettable Sylvia, an intriguing and haunting young girl to whom
birds of all kinds are drawn irresistibly, despite her fatal allergy to
Spurting with kinetic energy, nasty wit, and
kindness to animals, Wesley ought to be a star. Or so it seems to the "Behindlings"
-- followers who nip at his heels, turn up everywhere he goes, and lie in
wait for him around every corner. They skulk through the dreary streets of
their tiny English town, gathering their own scabby intentions, irritating
habits, and weird manners, burying all differences in the common pursuit
of their true prize, their Wesley.
In Behindlings, the inimitable and ungovernable Nicola Barker takes
her most compelling character to date, gives him his head and her novel,
and sees him run off with her readers.
Clear: A Transparent Novel
On September 5, 2003, illusionist David Blaine
entered a small Perspex box adjacent to London's Thames River and began
starving himself. Forty-four days later, on October 19, he left the box,
fifty pounds lighter. That much, at least, is clear. And the rest? The
crowds? The chaos? The hype? The rage? The fights? The lust? The filth?
The bullshit? The hypocrisy?
Nicola Barker fearlessly crams all that and more into this ribald and
outrageous peep show of a novel, her most irreverent, caustic,
up-to-the-minute work yet, laying bare the heart of our contemporary
world, a world of illusion, delusion, celebrity, and hunger.
Winner 2008 Hawthornden Prize
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize,
Darkmans is an exhilarating, extraordinary examination of the ways in
which history can play jokes on us all... If History is just a sick joke
which keeps on repeating itself, then who exactly might be telling it, and
why? Could it be John Scogin, Edward IV's infamous court jester, whose
favorite pastime was to burn people alive - for a laugh? Or could it be
Andrew Boarde, Henry VIII's physician, who kindly wrote John Scogin's
biography? Or could it be a tiny Kurd called Gaffar whose days are
blighted by an unspeakable terror of - uh - salad? Or a beautiful, bulimic
harpy with ridiculously weak bones? Or a man who guards Beckley Woods with
a Samurai sword and a pregnant terrier?
Darkmans is a very modern book, set in Ashford [a ridiculously
modern town], about two very old-fashioned subjects: love and jealousy.
It's also a book about invasion, obsession, displacement and possession,
about comedy, art, prescription drugs and chiropody. And the main
character? The past, which creeps up on the present and whispers something
quite dark - quite unspeakable - into its ear.
The third of Nicola Barker's narratives of the Thames Gateway, Darkmans
is an epic novel of startling originality.
The Three Button Trick: Selected Stories
Audacious, original, clever, poignant -- these are
just a few words that describe the writing of Nicola Barker, a talented,
award-winning author whose work brings to mind Martin Amis, Julian Barnes,
and Maragaret Atwood.Now nineteen of her finest short stories have been
complied into one brilliant, delightful readable volume.
It takes young Carrie twenty-one years and a chance meeting with an
eighty-three-year-old widow to realize she fell victim to her husband's
"Three Button Trick." The main character in "Wesley" must work through his
troubled childhood in a series of episodes involving masses of eels, an
imaginary friend named Joy, and an unmentionable incident with an emu-owl.
From erotic encounters behind clothing racks to a kleptomaniac with his
organs on the wrong side, this daring and gifted writer never fails to
surprise us, entertain us, and make us think.
Winner 1997 John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday
Prize for a memorable work by a Commonwealth writer under the age of 35
Nicola Barker conjures up a fantastical
world where an unborn baby escapes an unsuitable mother through a
belly-button zip, a disgruntled job applicant steals his interviewer's
garden pond and a new father feeds his hand to an owl. Her imagination is
truly weird and wonderful, but what makes these stories work so well is
that they are based on reality - a woman falls in love with her husband
because his buttons are done up wrongly, a bitter old woman tries to trick
a tramp, a man frees eels from an East End pie shop, a bride throws a
tantrum on her wedding day. This collection brings to life a world which
simmers just below the surface of the imagination, proving again that
Nicola Barker is one of the most original young writers of her generation.
Love Your Enemies
(1993) -- Winner David Higham Prize for Fiction;
Joint Winner Macmillan Silver Pen Award for Fiction
A collection of ten stories about people
trying to find beauty in adverse circumstances. The first is Layla Carter,
16, from North London, whose nose is too big. The last is a lonely woman
who meets a satyr in her kitchen and asks: "Can I feel your fur?".
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