- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date:
- 05 July 2012
- Modern & Contemporary
Showing 1-2 out of 2 reviews.
I only read 10 pages at most at a time of any Nicola Barker book, partly to make the intense pleasure last as long as possible, partly because her verbal pyrotechnics, extraordinary/ordinary characters and bizarre plots are easier to process in small doses. ’Darkmans’ is the masterpiece I measure her other books against – ‘ Burley Cross Postbox Theft’, her last, was a very clever and highly amusing picture of the changing composition of rural villages that nevertheless felt like something she could knock off while half-asleep. ‘The Yips’ is much closer to the real thing, a virtuoso snapshot of British society in flux (interesting to finish this after seeing Danny Boyle’s wonderful vision in the Olympic Opening Ceremony of Britain as social melting pot - another chaotic, sprawling yet highly structured work of art). In some ways it is very focused, taking place over a weekend at a golf resort where almost-hasbeen professional Stuart Ransome is trying to stage a comeback of sorts, in others it is a rich sprawl through the lives of some weird people (but which of us doesn’t have some weirdness at heart?). Characters who have suffered bizarre illnesses and accidents abound, and only Barker could extract the humour from some of their situations, but extract it she does, to laugh-out-loud levels. To describe these characters and the plot would be to diminish future readers’ pleasure, suffice it to say that the pleasure is immense, the quirkiness awesome. I also enjoyed the random cultural references: from Anne Sexton to Meatloaf. And Barker is capable of some lovely lyrical writing – ‘her head is angled to the sky, her pale throat arching, a luminescent hummingbird thirstily imbibing the abundant lunar nectar’. There is a very serious core to all the fun, with environmental issues (I had no idea how much of the earth is covered by golf courses) rubbing shoulders with religion, including a woman vicar and dilemmas over burka-wearing, and fundamental questions about people’s responsibilities to themselves and others. Highly recommended
Very very rarely I come across a book which I just cant finish, but that happened with this one. After 113 pages I thought "That's enough". The characters were completely unlikeable and as for the dialogue ugh!!!
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