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The Yips by Nicola Barker

The Yips

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Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012.

The hilarious new novel from the Booker-shortlisted author of Darkmans, Nicola Barker. Nicola Barker's The Yips is at once a historical novel of the pre-Twitter moment, the filthiest state-of-the-nation novel since Martin Amis' Money and the most flamboyant piece of comic fiction ever to be set in Luton.

If you like Nicola Barker you might also like to read books by Rachel Cusk, Toby Litt and Susan Elderkin.


The Yips by Nicola Barker

T2006 is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Tiger Woods' reputation is entirely untarnished and the English Defence League does not exist yet. Storm-clouds of a different kind are gathering above the bar of Luton's less than exclusive Thistle Hotel. Among those caught up in the unfolding drama are a man who's had 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 golfer in free-fall.


Praise for 'The Yips':

'Barker is ostensibly a comic writer, and is indeed snort-inducingly funny at times ... But Barker is neither a classicist nor a modernist: she is working in the realist tradition. What's more - just about uniquely in this country - she is thinking intelligently and critically about how to make that tradition work in the present day. But it's not for her virtue that she deserves to be read; it's for pleasure. Apart from all else, she is very good on love, of both the married and the physical sort, assuming they are two different things - which, of course, the realist tradition tends to assume they are.
Keith Miller, Daily Telegraph

'English fiction's great eccentric offers up a typically riotous saga'

'There are moments when Stuart Ransom has the vulgar bravura of John Self in martin Amis's Money and occasionally the novel also reminds one of Hilary Mantel - a comparable master of dark comedy. But Barker is unique and it's for the pleasures of her style that one reads her.'
Kate Kellaway, Observer

'She is scatological, mischievous, subversive and original. Barker's transfiguration of the commonplace is radically unlike Muriel Spark's, but no less dazzling'. The Times, Ruth Scurr '... we are reminded that Barker is a novelist of both epically large and trivially small ... The result is more consistently surprising that War and Peace, at least.'
Sunday Telegraph

'There is nothing conventional about THE YIPS ... its originality, its charm or its peculiar beauty. Barker is in many ways a challenging and discomforting writer, yet her work is full of straightforward reading pleasures. She combines serious intentions with lightness of touch, toughness with compassion, and has a unique imagination'
Sunday Times

About the Author

Nicola Barker

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. Her most recent novel, Darkmans, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2007. She is one of Granta's 'Best Young British Novelists' of the decade.

Photograph by Tony Davis

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Book Info

Publication date

5th July 2012


Nicola Barker

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Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


560 pages


Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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