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Behindlings by Nicola Barker


Behindlings by Nicola Barker

A brilliantly funny novel from one of our most unconventional literary talents, Nicola Barker. Some people follow the stars. Some people follow the soaps. Some people follow rare birds, or obscure bands, or the form, or the football. Wesley prefers not to follow. He thinks that to follow anything too assiduously is a sign of weakness. Wesley is a prankster, a maverick, a charismatic manipulator, an accidental murderer who longs to live his life anonymously. But he can't. It is his awful destiny to be hotly pursued - secretly stalked, obsessively hunted - by a disparate group of oddballs he calls The Behindlings. Their motivations? Love, boredom, hatred, revenge.


`Marvellously inventive, a cornucopia of cornucopias all the way to its brilliant non-ending - its refusal to end. It is a new kind of book, and an intense kind of joy.
Ali Smith, TLS

`Compelling. Barker's narrative draws us in with the disturbing, surreal touch of a latter-day Lewis Carroll.
Michelene Wandor, Sunday Times

`Dazzling...She celebrates the complexity of human experience.
Frank Egerton, The Times

`Insanely inventive. Her vision of a marginal Britain populated by drifters and desperados is fired by a comic energy that dances on the edge of self-combustion.
Alex Clark, Guardian

`Barker's eccentrics are the stuff of pure farce. And they allow her to reinvent, joyously, the cogs, gears and mechanics of the genre. She knows, as Wodehouse also knew, how to rev up the language, do baroque variations on a phrase, even break into a kind of poetry. Sheer wit and energy make Behindlings an excellent candidate for a cult novel - and not just a very good novel about a cult.
Michael Pye, New York Times

`Fucked up, fucked off and totally, weirdly brilliant.
Eithne Farry, Elle

`Extraordinary. Full of deadpan wit, black comedy and visual slapstick, the novel delights most through its imaginative extravagances.
Katie Owen, Sunday Telegraph

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

12th December 2016


Nicola Barker

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Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


544 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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