Arcs Barker, Nicola Behindlings: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780060185695

Behindlings: A Novel

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9780060185695: Behindlings: A Novel

Wesley, spurting with kinetic energy, nasty wit, and kindness to animals, ought to be a star. Or so it seems to those who nip at his heels, turn up everywhere he goes, and lie in wait for him around every corner. They are his followers -- he calls them Behindlings. And they make quite an ensemble, with their own questionable intentions, irritating habits, and weird manners. But they bury all disagreement in the common pursuit of their prize, their Wesley.

Then there are those who simply stay put. Catherine Turpin lies defiantly in the bed she makes for herself while, outside, her failings are broadcast widely, painted on walls, even. When one of Wesley's newest followers, Jo Bean, turns out to be more interested in confronting Catherine than sticking with the behindlings, plots that have been twisted up come undone.

With Behindlings, the inimitable Nicola Barker takes a character who is perhaps her most compelling creation to date, and lets him run off with her readers.

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Review:

Behindlings, the fifth novel from Nicola Barker, is a welcome return, both in mood and in geography, to the gothic terrain of her Impac Prize winner Wide Open. Set in parochial Canvey Island, Essex, this book is inventive, funny, unnerving, and often magnificently strange.

Barker's Canvey (once dubbed "Candy Island" by Daniel Defoe) is, with its Wimpy Bar, dreary pubs, and long-cherished grudges, rumours, and secrets, a quintessentially English small town. Its emotionally damaged population is augmented by the "Behindlings" of the title, a gaggle of oddballs who follow, or more precisely obsessively stalk, the novel's enigmatic central character, Wesley. The architect of a chocolate company-funded treasure hunt, author of a pseudo-Nietzschean walking guide and the man behind the daring theft of an antique pond, he is a rather malevolent Pied Piper. Part Alvin Toffler-quoting, peripatetic environmental visionary, part immoral (and maybe downright evil) fraudster, he's also notorious for feeding the fingers on his right hand to an eagle owl "in an act of penance" for accidentally killing his brother.

Barker has always had a penchant for the surreal, and occasionally here both plot and characterization can get swamped in flights of absurdist imagination. She is perhaps too fond of the elaborate simile. The clackety, clackety of the "like" and "as" of her prose style is, from time to time, a little exasperating. Despite this, her narrative is so alluringly, so charmingly odd, bristling with puzzles and etymological games and full of wonderfully, devilishly comic touches, that it's easy to ignore its minor flaws. --Travis Elborough, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:

Nicola Barker has written five books, including the short story collection The Three Button Trick, and Love Your Enemies, a short story collection that won the David Higham Prize for Fiction and the Macmillan Silver Pen Award for Fiction. She lives in London.

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Barker, Nicola
ISBN 10: 0060185694 ISBN 13: 9780060185695
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Book Description Book Condition: New. Ships From Canada. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 535 pages. From Booklist: British writer Barker's offbeat novel about Wesley, a feral man with weird, charismatic powers, and his scruffy and fanatic followers ushers readers into a flagrantly peculiar, topsy-turvy realm. As Wesley wanders the countryside, leading the entranced public on an elaborate treasure hunt that has already claimed a boy's life, the Behindlings, misfits of various ages and maladies, obsess about every detail of his life and track his every move on an avidly consulted Web site. The seductive Wesley is either diabolically cruel and manipulative, or suffering from a massive guilt trip over causing his brother's death, and Jo Bean, an enigmatic nurse, has a unique opportunity to determine which it is after she joins the eccentric ranks of the Behindlings on the island of Canvey. Soon the entire community is involved, from Ted, the foppish real-estate agent, to Eileen, the sexy librarian, to the carpenter, Dewi, an. Bookseller Inventory # 8794140805

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Barker, Nicola
Published by Ecco, New York, New York, U.S.A. (2002)
ISBN 10: 0060185694 ISBN 13: 9780060185695
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Book Description Ecco, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 535 pages. From Booklist: British writer Barker's offbeat novel about Wesley, a feral man with weird, charismatic powers, and his scruffy and fanatic followers ushers readers into a flagrantly peculiar, topsy-turvy realm. As Wesley wanders the countryside, leading the entranced public on an elaborate treasure hunt that has already claimed a boy's life, the Behindlings, misfits of various ages and maladies, obsess about every detail of his life and track his every move on an avidly consulted Web site. The seductive Wesley is either diabolically cruel and manipulative, or suffering from a massive guilt trip over causing his brother's death, and Jo Bean, an enigmatic nurse, has a unique opportunity to determine which it is after she joins the eccentric ranks of the Behindlings on the island of Canvey. Soon the entire community is involved, from Ted, the foppish real-estate agent, to Eileen, the sexy librarian, to the carpenter, Dewi, and the love of his life, his outrageous neighbor Katharine, who is also the target of Wesley's most vicious machinations. Banter-filled, wry, and slightly otherworldly, Barker's earthy, inventive, hilarious, and wickedly satirical novel is enormously entertaining. Donna Seaman Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved Book Description Spurting with kinetic energy, nasty wit, and kindness to animals, Wesley ought to be a star. Or so it seems to the "Behindlings"--followers who nip at his heels, turn up everywhere he goes, and lie in wait for him around every corner. They skulk through the dreary streets of their tiny English town, gathering their own scabby intentions, irritating habits, and weird manners, burying all differences in the common pursuit of their true prize, their Wesley. In Behindlings, the inimitable and ungovernable Nicola Barker takes her most compelling character to date, gives him his head and her novel, and sees him run off with her readers. --This text refers to the Paperback edition. About the Author Nicola B. Bookseller Inventory # 0003210

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Book Description Ecco, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060185694

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Book Description Ecco, U.S.A., 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First EDition stated, with correct number line sequence, no writing, marks, underlining, or bookplates. No remainder marks. Spine is tight and crisp. Boards are flat and true and the corners are square. Dust jacket is not price-clipped. This collectible, " NEW" condition first edition/first printing copy is protected with a polyester archival dust jacket cover. Beautiful collectible copy. Perfect in every way. GIFT QUALITY. Bookseller Inventory # 000908

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Book Description Ecco, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110060185694

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