Nicola Barker

I Am Sovereign
  • I Am Sovereign

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    'One of the funniest, most finely achieved comic novels, even by her own standard … I think it’s a masterpiece.' ALI SMITH

    ‘I think Nicola Barker is incapable of a dull page. [Her work] is unified by its spirit of adventure.’ KEVIN BARRY

    How long does it take to change the world?
    Could it happen in approximately twenty minutes?

    Charles, a forty-year-old teddy bear maker, is trying to sell his late mother's house, helped by his estate agent Avigail (who thinks Charles is an imbecile). The prospective buyers: the fearsome Wang Shu - who has no desire to make idle chit-chat - and her downtrodden daughter, Ying Yue.

    During the twenty-minute viewing a huge number of things happen, although it is also entirely possible that nothing happens at all. Which is it? Can the world really turn on its axis during a mundane discussion about cheese preservation? Has fiction the power to do that? Should it even want to?
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    'She really is a genius.’ GUARDIAN

    ‘Life-affirming hilarity – Evelyn Waugh on ecstasy.’ NELL ZINK

    'A madly brilliant little book that asks who at any point is in control of what. I loved it.' DAILY MAIL

    Nicola Barker’s wildness and capacity for the absurd often delight me.’ SARAH MOSS

    What an audacious writer Nicola Barker isIn an era when plot is king, Barker has typically, joyously, dispensed with one Barker’s pleasure in the novella feels defiant.’ EVENING STANDARD

    I Am Sovereign is bursting with energy, compassion and humour.’ LITERARY REVIEW

    Barker is a writer in a class of her ownA work of coruscating intelligence, of deep humanity.’ OBSERVER

    A riotous burst of a novel that scrutinises the nature of fiction with the lightest of touches.’ MAIL ON SUNDAY

    A bracing, brilliantly bonkers comic novelThis is freewheeling fiction that delights in the visual.’ SUNDAY TIMES

    Barker’s writing is very, very funny, both ha ha and strange ... Fans of Ali Smith’s “Seasonal Quartet” will enjoy a similarly arch, detached view on the banality of contemporary Britain ... A gloriously audacious blend of, well, the deep and the trite.’ INDEPENDENT

Nicola Barker was born in Ely in 1966 and spent part of her childhood in South Africa. She is the author of twelve novels – including Wide Open, Darkmans, The Yips and In the Approaches – and two short story collections. She has been twice longlisted and once shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, has won the IMPAC, the John Llewellyn Rhys and the Hawthornden Prizes, and was named one of Granta’s 20 Best Young British Writers in 2003. Her latest novel, H(A)PPY, won the 2017 Goldsmiths Prize and was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018.


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