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Five Miles From Outer Hope Paperback – 1 July 2011
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- Publisher : 4th Estate GB (1 July 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 300 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0007435738
- ISBN-13 : 978-0007435739
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 1.32 x 19.8 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 417,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
‘If you ever despair that young British female writing is only concerned with marriage, men and weight problems, you just need to pick up one of Barker's books to reassure yourself that all is not bland…She writes of the comic and sometimes sinister surrealism of ordinary people's lives, and the results are books to make you wince, gasp and laugh out loud. The latest addition… is a sharp, deft account of teenage frustration’ Independent
‘The pages are alive with arch metaphors, apt similes, puns and riddles…A challenging evocation of that strange, magical, bewildering period between a child and reaching adulthood’ Financial Times
‘At times comic and whimsical, sometimes sad and occasionally grating, ‘Five Miles from Outer Hope’ is always fresh, original and tightly written’ The Times
‘It’s a first-love, rites of passage novel, refreshingly free of rose-tinted sentiment…by the way, it’s also very funny’ Literary Review
‘This novel, which cleverly sidesteps the traps of earnestness and seriousness, could well be read as a sort of literary tonic for enervation and grumpiness, the latest welcome despatch from Barker’s determinedly perverse and ungovernable imagination’ Guardian
About the Author
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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There are numerous pranks, moments of angst, literary gimmicks and a noirish feel to this book. Barker places us in the midst of a family that under an ordinary setting would certainly be described as dysfunctional.
However, there is nothing ordinary about this group. Living in a no longer operating hotel on an island off the coast of England, the entire family (parents included) is in need of growing up. Of course, for such a need to be fulfilled, someone(s) would have to actually try to act like an adult.
The arrival of a mystery guest of the father's really gives the story a focal point. The interplay of the characters is 'real' within this setting - and this interplay is the meat of the book.
Barker's effort is both gritty and hilarious. The sparse writing style fits right in with the pace and action of the story. Enjoyable all the way through.