Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Nicola Barker’s The Yips (Review #2)

The_YipsRating: 4
The Yips
A Novel by Nicola Barker
2012 / 550 Pages

This review was simultaneously published on 40GigsAndaMule on 9/9/2012

When we divided up the Booker long list, The Yips was the book I was most interested in reading. But it wasn’t the first I read. That honor went to Michael Frayn’s Skios, and perhaps The Yips suffered for it. Both books are broad farce – the Bookers seem to be sweet on farce this year – and it is only in comparison to the tautness of Frayn’s story that The Yips comes in a close number two. I’d like to rate it 4.25 stars, but I think our erstwhile editor would have my head.

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.

With their similar style and pace, the Booker judges may be willing to push through only one of the aforementioned. If that’s the case, I’d push for Skios. But I’d love to see them both on the short list and considered head to head in the next stage.



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