Darkmans

Darkmans

By Nicola Barker

Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061575211, 848pp.

Publication Date: December 13, 2013

Description

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.



About the Author
Nicola Barker is the author of eleven novels, including "The Yips" (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize), "Darkmans" (shortlisted for the Booker and the Ondaatje Prize and winner of the Hawthornden Prize), "Clear" (longlisted for the Booker), and "Wide Open" (winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), and three story collections, including" Love Your Enemies" (winner of the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award). Two of her stories, "Dual Balls" and "Symbiosis," have been adapted for British television, and the former was shortlisted for a BAFTA. Barker was named on "Granta"'s Best of Young British Novelists list in 2003, and her work has been translated into over a dozen languages. She lives in London.