The YipsBook - 2012
-There was a rat in the bath,' Gene explains. -It's a long story, but basically I fished it out and was carrying it around by the tail, not quite sure how to dispose of it, when I managed to barge in on this woman having a genital tattoo.'
The year 2006 is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Tiger Woods's reputation is entirely untarnished and the English Defence League does not yet exist. Storm clouds of a different kind are gathering above the bar of Luton's less-than-exclusive Thistle Hotel. Among those caught up in the unfolding drama are a man who's had cancer seven times, a woman priest with an unruly fringe, the troubled family of a notorious local fascist, an interfering barmaid with three E's at A-level but a PhD in bullshit, and a free-thinking Muslim sex therapist with his considerably more pious wife. But at the centre of every intrigue and the bottom of every mystery is the repugnantly charismatic figure of Stuart Ransom - a golfer in free-fall.
Nicola Barker's eight previous novels include Darkmans (shortlisted for the Man Booker and Ondaatje prizes, and winner of the Hawthornden Prize), Wide Open (winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award) and Clear (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize). Barker has also written two prize-winning collections of short stories. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in east London.