SUMMARY ñ Heading Inland

REVIEW Heading Inland

Nicola Barker conjures up a fantastical world where an unborn baby escapes an unsuitable mother through a belly button zip a disgruntled job applicant steals his interviewer's garden pond and a new father feeds his hand to an owl Her imagination is. I do so love Nicola Barker but this short story collection is pretty variable Are there any short story collections which aren t variable Some stronger pieces at the end of the book just scrape this into 4 star territory But despite the so so stories it s still enjoyable than any other single author collection I can think of and Barker evokes a range of emotions not too far short of DFW s Oblivion Buds of the tour de force that was Darkmans are sprouting everywhere the fucked up characters in nowhere towns scenes of the just tolerably grotesue genuine high volume hilarity and occasionally that Neil Gaiman short story type of fantasy that s just a genie away from realityThe Piazza Barberini though written ten years before the fact is like a sicko parallel universe version of the Italian section of Eat Pray Love And she makes me realise that for all the romantic tales of circus life we read in childhood the modern version hardly ever finds its way into adult fictionA few here are normal than I d expect especially Water Marks about preparations for a standard issue white meringue wedding I like to think that Barker characters would have a big fat gypsy knees up or my personal favoured option the impulsive secret parentless dash to the registry office But otherwise there are few other writers who make me feel uite as much at home as she does Or should that really be at workIn 2007 when I read Darkmans it felt as if someone had finally put everything I would want to into a book said everything I wanted to say at that point far better than I could and most of the characters could have come straight from the advice centres I worked in Having read that Cambridge graduate and career novelist Barker used to have a job in a betting shop I can only assume that that s where she had time to become acuainted with these motley crews Heading Inland is pretty good but than anything it makes me want to read of her later fully developed work Actually epiphany Suede and Nicola Barker inhabit the same territory geographically and to some extent character wise But Barker puts flesh on those skinny shirted bones and adds humour which has frankly always been Brett Anderson s weak point

CHARACTERS Ò TOBERMOREDRIVEWAYS.CO.UK ´ Nicola Barker

Heading Inland

Truly weird and wonderful but what makes these stories work so well is that they are based on reality a woman falls in love with her husband because his buttons are done up wrongly a bitter old woman tries to trick a tramp a man frees eels from an. 35

Nicola Barker ´ 1 SUMMARY

East End pie shop a bride throws a tantrum on her wedding day This collection brings to life a world which simmers just below the surface of the imagination proving again that Nicola Barker is one of the most original young writers of her generation. There s a real peculiar sensibility to these stories Nicola is effective in creating a substantial glimpse into the lives of these strange beings and though we cannot see what happens to them ten or twenty years from that point there s a bit of a defining sense of the moments she brings us In general I prefer stories that sort of knock you over the head especially at the ending like Flannery O Connor s short stories These are a great deal subtle for the most part though it does have a couple of frantic scenes like when a man is choking but mainly the stories some uite short build like an unfathomable smile on one s face with an intelligent wryness characteristic of Barker


6 thoughts on “Heading Inland

  1. says:

    I do so love Nicola Barker but this short story collection is pretty variable Are there any short story collectio

  2. says:

    35

  3. says:

    There's a real peculiar sensibility to these stories Nicola is effective in creating a substantial glimpse into the lives of these strange beings and though we cannot see what happens to them ten or twenty years from that point there's a bit of a defining sense of the moments she brings us In general I prefer stories that sort of knock you over the head especially at the ending like Flannery O'Connor's short stories These are a

  4. says:

    #1The foetus snorted in a derisory fashion 'Revolutionaries' he said 'don't wear baby clothes Steal me a gun though and I'll fire it through your spleen'#2'I tell you what' Jeanie offered 'all in one lace bodysuit right? Stretchy stu

  5. says:

    I don't know This was very average for me which it shouldn't have been when you consider the peculiar and often dark themes of the stories I think the problem was the execution rather than the ideas the writing style was v

  6. says:

    Brilliant I didn't realise that she had written about Wesley before Behindlings and that some of the key past incidents referred to in the novel are covered in these short stories Makes me want to read Behindlings again