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Love Your Enemies [Paperback]

Nicola Barker
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

28 April 2011

From the brilliantly unconventional Nicola Barker, the short stories in ‘Love Your Enemies’ present a loving depiction of the beautiful, the grotesque and the utterly bizarre in the lives of overlooked suburban Britons.

Layla Carter, 16, from North London, is utterly overwhelmed by her plus-size nose. Rosemary, recently widowed and the ambivalent owner of a bipolar tomcat, meets a satyr in her kitchen and asks, ‘Can I feel your fur?’

In these ten enticingly strange short stories, a series of marginalised characters seek truth in the obsession and oppression of everyday existence, via a canine custody battle, sex in John Lewis and some strangely expressive desserts.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (28 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007436033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007436033
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 547,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nicola Barker's eight previous novels include 'Darkmans' (short-listed for the 2007 Booker and Ondaatje prizes, and winner of the Hawthornden), 'Wide Open' (winner of the 2000 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award) and 'Clear' (long-listed for the Booker Prize in 2004). She has also written two prize-winning collections of short-stories, and her work has been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in east London. Her latest novel, 'The Yips', was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2012.

Product Description


‘One of the most exhilarating, audacious and ballsy writers of her generation’ Observer

‘Barker's writing is an antidote to, a laughing cure to, and an energiser for the more moribund forms of Englishness and English fiction’ Ali Smith, Guardian

‘Like Roald Dahl, Barker can take a commonplace situation – cooking a meal, starting a diet, taking in a stray – and use it to bounce off into a surreal fantasy world’ Independent

About the Author

Nicola Barker was born in Ely in 1966 and spent part of her childhood in South Africa. She lives and works in east London. She was the winner of the David Higham Prize for Fiction and joint winner of the Macmillan Silver Pen Award for Love Your Enemies, her first collection of stories (1993). Her first novel Reversed Forecast was published in 1994 and a short novel Small Holdings followed in 1995. A second collection of short stories Heading Inland, for which Nicola received an Arts Council Writers’ Award, and received the 1997 John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday Prize. Her story ‘Symbiosis’ was filmed and broadcast on BBC2; another story, ‘Dual Balls’, was commissioned for broadcast on Channel 4 and shortlisted for a BAFTA Award. Her third novel Wide Open was published in 1998, and won the English-speaking world’s biggest literary award for a single work, the IMPAC Prize. In 2000 she published another short novel, Five Miles from Outer Hope. Her fifth novel, Behindlings, was published in 2002 and the following novel, Clear, was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2004. Darkmans, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2007, the 2008 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Award and won the Hawthornden Prize for 2008. Most recently, Barker's work THE YIPS has been longlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2012. She was named as one of the 20 Best Young British Novelists by Granta in 2005. Her work has been translated into over a dozen languages.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gems 30 Jan 2003
Barker is, to my mind, one of the best short story writers around. A miniaturist at heart, these compilations are often better than her novels.
This work contains several gems, many of which centre around the premise that something negative can be turned into something postive - hence a recipient of malicious telephone calls empowers herself to the detriment of her abuser, a young man feels compassion for a tumour, and a repressed teacher turns a practical joke into a liberating experience.
Often humourous, sometimes deeply touching, Barker's direct prose compels you to read the whole lot in one pleasurable sitting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Flawless collection of short stories 1 Sep 2012
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I've read a few novels by Barker and really enjoyed them, but this, her first collection of short stories is nothing short of outstanding. I am not generally a fan of the short story genre, but this surpassed all my expectations. The stories are beautifully honed, quirky pieces of writing that are each perfect in their own right. They are thoughtful, funny, poignant and macabre, sometimes all in the same story. There are some wonderful twists to some of the stories, and there was not one weak story in the collection. I loved the story about the girl and her tape worm, and the one about the woman who created psychic food. I loved them all actually. If you like dark, odd, funny stories this is the book for you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hate Your Friends 24 Oct 2013
By ReasonableGoatPerson - Published on
Short stories don't usually get high praise from me, especially if they're short-short (15-20 pages or less). I need to spend more time with the characters to care about what's happening, so usually it's only having an O. Henry moment at the end that accounts for me loving them. Not true, in this case, although there are some neat endings to be found here. And a Goat Person. Yay!

Often with short story collections there are a few duds in the mix and a strong stand-out or two. To my amazement, there isn't a story in this book that I would rate lower than a Like. All of them are packed with interesting ideas, things to keep you pondering after you're done with them, if you're so inclined. It's no wonder it won a prize, much deserved.

If I must pick a "best" story, it would have to be 'Dual Balls', which I'll admit I adore so because it reminds me of a favorite author of mine, Tom Sharpe, at his finest. A sex toy, an old headmistress and a uptight schoolteacher, truly an hilarious combination. Forget the philosophical questions, I'll take the sex humour over those any day, thank you very much.
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