Wide Open

Front Cover
HarperCollins Publishers Limited, 2011 - Eccentrics and eccentricities - 300 pages
4 Reviews

WIDE OPEN is set on the strange Isle Of Sheppey, which pokes out into into the estuary of the River Thames. On this forgotten misty island there is a nudist beach, a nature reserve, a wild boar farm and not much else. The landscape is bare, but the characters are brimming with life. There's Luke, who specialises in dot-to-dot pornography, and lippy Lily, just 17 and full of outrageous anger. They are joined by Jim and the 8 year old, Nathan, as well as the mysterious figure of Ronnie, who though plain has dark, telling eyes.

Each one is drifting in turbulent, emotional currents, fighting the rip tide of a past, bleak with secrets and fear. Years later adult Nathan works in a Lost Property department, an irony that is almost brutal in its compassion.

A novel about stripping off layers of prejudice and lies, about the possibility of redemption, and laying bare the truth. It is also about coming to terms with the past, and about the fantasies people construct in order to protect their fragile inner selves.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Larou - LibraryThing

This book cannot be trusted. It lures you in by being ostensibly a British comedy filled with endearingly eccentric characters and funny dialogue and then, once you are completely drawn in, begins to ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - GingerbreadMan - LibraryThing

Here’s what you need to know about Nicola Barker. She’ll trick you. She’ll lure you into believing that she writes quirky characters in something resembling reality – when she’s really a sly ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

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. Darkmans, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2007, the 2008 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Award and won the Hawthornden Prize for 2008. Most recently, Barker's work THE YIPS has been longlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2012. She was named as one of the 20 Best Young British Novelists by Granta in 2005. Her work has been translated into over a dozen languages.

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