Know Your Booker!: Nicola Barker’s The Yips

The_YipsSo you think you know everything there is to know about Nicola Barker’s Booker nominated novel The Yips? Test your knowledge against our GoodReads quiz here!

What’s it about?

The Yips is described by the book’s publisher Fourth Estate as follows:

‘There was a rat in the bath’, Gene explains. ‘It’s a long story, but basically I fished it out and was carrying around by the tail, not quite sure how to dispose of it, when I managed to barge in on this woman having a genital tattoo’.

2006 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, and 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 figure of Stuart Ransom – a golfer in free-fall.

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.

Who is Nicola Barker?

According to her official bio on the Fourth Estate website:

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 novel, Darkmans, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2007 and her most recent novel The Yips has been selected for the 2012 Booker longlist. She is one of Granta’s ‘Best Young British Novelists’ of the decade.

What does BookerMarks think of The Yips?

Mike (Review): “Our main character Stuart Ransom is wonderfully awful. The large supporting cast is truly great. And the book’s take on the burqa as potentially an object of empowerment is thought-provoking.”

Aaron (Review): “The Yips is deliriously brilliant and laugh out loud funny, but as much as I want you to read it, I also want to keep it for myself. It’s like having new favorite album months before anyone else has heard it and then hating it after it blows up big time on the radio because no matter which way you turn you can’t escape it, as if it somehow gets less brilliant with each additional person that listens to it.”

What do YOU think of Nicola Barker’s The Yips? Sound off below or visit our GoodReads forum to submit your official rating for the book which will be added to our community long list standings!

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