She concedes that H(a)ppy is recognisably a Barker novel: the disrupted and interwoven story lines, the sense of disorientation and mischievous playfulness that we've seen in novels from the Impac-winning Wide Open to the Man Booker-shortlisted Darkmans
and her bravura tale of golfing mayhem, The Yips .
You might perhaps linger over Hard Times, but we recommend that you move on and read Nicola Barker's Darkmans
, or Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black or Jonathan Coe's The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim or J.G.
For me this would include Zadie Smith's White Teeth, Rick Moody's The Diviners, Nicola Barker's Darkmans
, and much of the work of David Foster Wallace.
Liggen in strommel, in darkmans
for pannum Should the grand Ruffian come to mill me, I Would scorn to shuttle from my Poverty.
This year's shortlist includes Nicola Barker for her novel Darkmans
; Graham Robb for Discovery of France; Robert Minhinnick for Sea Holly; Orlando Figes for The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia; Rachel Lichtenstein for On Brick Lane; and Robert Carver's Paradise with Serpents.
| NICOLA BARKER: In Ashford, Daniel Beede directs his anger toward his homogenized town and tries to sort out his confused, chaotic relationships.
Hills's closing Booker Prize prices: 6-4 Lloyd Jones Mister Pip, 15-8 Ian McEwan On Chesil Beach, 6 Mohsin Hamid Reluctant Fundamentalist, 7 Nicola Barker Darkmans
, Indra Sinha Animal's People, 12 Anne Enright The Gathering.
Booker Prize odds (Hills): 6-4 Lloyd Jones (Mister Pip), 15-8 Ian McEwan (On Chesil Beach), 6-1 Mohsin Hamid (Reluctant Fundamentalist), 7-1 Nicola Barker (Darkmans
), 7-1 Indra Sinha (Animal's People), 12-1 Anne Enright (The Gathering).
Also on the shortlist are Anne Enright with The Gathering, Nicola Barker's The Darkmans
, The Animal's People by Indra Sinha and The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid.
Finally, we have the formidable Darkmans
(2007), set in the town of Ashford, Kent, a town which has become well-known as 'Ashford International', the last or first stop on Eurostar.
Nicola Barker (Fourth Estate pounds 17.99)
According to the BBC, Jones has been nominated for Mister Pip; Enright for The Gathering; Barker for Darkmans
; Hamid for The Reluctant Fundamentalist; and Sinha for Animal's People.