Customer Reviews


20 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!
«The Yips» is a strange book, which is hardly novel, but not a play either. Most of the text consists of dialogues, which actually describes the entire novel's action. Between dialogs there isn't any action, and the so-called space between the dialogues there is not too much. Heroes meet and discuss what happened to them in the past. Heroes are the main driving force of...
Published 13 months ago by Ray Garraty

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Total waste of time
I'm @ 50% of this book, and I'm seriously questioning the point of it: so far, the book is a pointless serious of conversations and dialogues with no actual plot.

Total waste of time. And £2.99.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!, 25 July 2013
This review is from: The Yips (Hardcover)
«The Yips» is a strange book, which is hardly novel, but not a play either. Most of the text consists of dialogues, which actually describes the entire novel's action. Between dialogs there isn't any action, and the so-called space between the dialogues there is not too much. Heroes meet and discuss what happened to them in the past. Heroes are the main driving force of the novel, they are the clay from which the novel is built. The plot here rather is that adorns basis, minor detail.

At the heart of the book is a professional golfer Stuart Ransom. From his former glory remains a little, personal Ransom's life tarnished his career. He has a wife and daughter, but he rarely sees them. In Scotland, Ransom is together with his manager Esther, a pregnant woman of Jamaican origin, which not very fluently speaks English. At the beginning of the novel Ransom is sitting at the bar in a provincial hotel, drinks and tells bartenders stories about golf and more. His mouth never closes. Bar is empty, and so he tells his stories only to girl-bartender Jen and her assistant Gene, who works in a bar part-time. Jen has recognized Ransom, and Gene has not.

Each of the characters in this book is so strange that the book is read not as something realistic, but rather as an urban fantasy. It is indeed a strange world, a wild story, overheard at the bar. And the whole story starts in the bar. Bar is a place to talk, and «The Yips» consists almost entirely of dialogue.

These dialogues are more than real, if that happens, but these are not bar or the market chatter, these are full, catchy in their reliability dialogues between living people. Once the book on 90 percent of the dialogue, faking the human speech would be fatal, the novel would have simply collapsed. From the speech of the characters we know who they are, know what they did. Silence is golden, but if nobody said anything, we would not have seen this wonderful novel.

«The Yips» does not spare the reader: Nicola Barker explains very little and certainly nothing brings on a platter. The first hundred pages, and even more, we have to read with eyes almost closed: from the situation is not clear on 70 percent. Gradually, from the subsequent dialog, we take out the information about the characters. This novel is complex but not overcomplex, requiring patience and the work of the mind.

The place of the novel is Scotland of 2006, but you feel like you are on Mars. Few can achieve the same effect.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'No philosophy. No guidance. No structure. No pay-off. No real consequences. Just stuff and then more stuff.', 14 Nov 2012
By 
purpleheart (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Yips (Paperback)
'Stuart Ransom, professional golfer, is drunkenly reeling off an interminable series of stats about the women's game in Korea (or the Ladies Game, as he is determined to have it); 'Don't scowl at me, beautiful ... !' - directed with his trademark Yorkshire twinkle, at Jen, who lounges, sullenly behind the hotel bar.'

The Yips opens with Jen and Ransom and Gene in a Thistle hotel bar in Luton's Arndale centre. Nicola Barker's latest novel is mostly dialogue - it starts in a fairly tame way with some semi-drunken chat about female Korean golfers led by the washed up has-been. As the evening goes on it becomes borderline surreal - is Jen a genius or a wind up artist,? Does Gene have psychic powers? Why is Noel ready for a fight? Barker lets the novel unfold through intercut scenes, forming impressions of her characters that are confirmed or shattered by later events. Barker is an adept at constructs that build but have their own instability and will come tumbling down. It's a type of farcical satire that reminded me of Tom Sharpe, though it is unique to Nicola Barker, and it is both bonkers and wonderful and doesn't play by any of the more obvious narrative rules.

Late in this long novel Jen is describing a fantasy self help book about stuff to Gene:

'' 'Yeah, stuff. Like here's some stuff, here's some other stuff, here's some more stuff. Just stuff - more and more stuff, different kinds of stuff which is really only the same stuff but in different colours and with different names; stuff stacked up on top of itself in these huge, messy piles...'
'Sounds a little unstable,' Gene frowns, concerned.
'Oh yeah' Jen chuckles - it's all very precarious. that's part of the fun. It's constantly threatening to topple over - to crash'
'And when it does?'
'Then it does! It topples! It crashes! the shit hits the fan for a while and, then the fallen stuff just reconfigure itself and everything pretty much goes back to normal.'

It could be taken as a description of Barker's own style. She piles up narratives next to each other, introduces complications and misunderstandings and instability until it reaches a tipping point and comes crashing down and then things reach a new equilibrium. She is pitch perfect with the dialogue and ranges from moving to funny, and often both, within an interchange. I imagine that there is a sharp divide in her readers -those drawn in and intrigued and hugely entertained and those who find it all overly contrived. I'm in the former group though I found the ending here somewhat lacklustre. In the main, I enjoyed the ride hugely.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Glorious mess, 9 Sep 2012
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Yips (Hardcover)
I love Nicola Barker's work. It is eccentric, it meanders about. It is dark and odd and strange, and a lot of the time it doesn't really go anywhere. This kind of thing, I have to say, usually drives me bonkers, but with Barker's work it doesn't. The Yips is an odd novel, which really ambles about all over the shop. Nothing is resolved, many of the characters appear briefly and then their stories never really get taken up. Not a lot happens. But I love it anyway. Stuart Ransom is a professional golfer and wild child who has become a bit of a drunken, annoying has been, and who now has the yips, a nervous condition in golfers that means that their hands shake so much they are unable to play properly. He washes up in a hotel in Luton to open a second rate golf course, and ends up entangled in the lives of everyone he bumps into over a few rather surreal, chaotic days. The book involves Nazi relics, a man who has survived cancer nine times, a disillusioned lady vicar, an avant garde tattooist with agoraphobia and a whole host of other, improbable characters.

If you like neat and tidy stories with a beginning, middle and end, this will not be for you. Otherwise you might find you really enjoy it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fizzes with energy and ideas, 11 Aug 2012
By 
MisterHobgoblin (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Yips (Hardcover)
Nicola Barker writes quirky, dialogue based novels that are humorous, surreal and very stylized. Most of them are long. Her characters are eccentric and contrived; her situations are improbable and her plots are skeletal at best.

That's what she does. If that doesn't float your boat, you won't like The Yips and you won't like her back catalogue. Personally, I love Nicola Barker and The Yips is up there with her best works - Clear and Behindlings. It knocks the Booker shortlisted Darkmans into a cocked hat.

So. The Yips (dreadful title) promises to be a novel about golf and Luton. This is not a promising start. In truth, though it is a novel about unfulfilled potential and loneliness - with laughs.

The Yips has a large cast - perhaps larger than it feels when you add in all the supporting roles - of grotesques, freaks and fools. As much as there is a story, famous professional golfer Stuart Ransom is its centre and all other actions spin off him. He is an Alan Partridge character, caught up in his own legend, referring to himself in the third person, whilst never realising that those around him find him mediocre. The other main star is Gene, the multiple cancer survivor who juggles three jobs and has talents he daren't pursue. Then there's Esther, Stuart's ebullient manager who speaks in Jamaican patois. There's Valentine and her unusual mother. And Jen - a barmaid who just likes stirring things. Plus plenty of others, of course.

The novel is heavily referential and very clever. Although it might appear to be meandering and freeform, it is expertly controlled. Details that might look like padding are there for a reason. This can make the whole thing feel contrived - and to a large extent it is. The Yips has a faux-realistic feel whilst actually being very stage managed. But despite the wild coincidences and improbable back stories, there is a relentless internal logic. One moment the reader will be laughing at the actions of a character, the next moment it will become clear that, given the unlikely circumstances, the action is perfectly sensible. It's a deadpan, Paul Merton-esque surreal humour.

In amongst all the farce there are very real ideas at play. One of the most striking set conventional thinking on its head, portraying the burkqa as a garment of liberation. But the constant theme is one of what might have been. Missed opportunities, wrong decisions, wasted talent. There's real pathos mixed with the faint glimmer of hope as the reader sees new opportunities. If only the characters would see them too...

Nicola Barker expertly drip feeds information to create paradigm shifts - you witness a scene and only later come to understand it. And when you think you've got it, something else comes along to make you reappraise the situation further. But the moments of revelation are not always delivered quickly. For example, the significance of the opening scene, where Stuart Ransom sits in a hotel bar and meets a rather emotional chap called Noel, only starts to become apparent about half way through the novel.

Nicola Barker brings a feeling of warmth and generosity to her writing. It would have been easy to write a hatchet job on golf clubs and dreary home counties towns, but this is resisted. Despite the greatly exaggerated characters, the tacky scenes and the irrelevance of gol-oll-oll-ulf, there are home truths and the novel is actually about people like us, with our belief systems and our prejudices.

For my money, Nicola Barker is just about the brightest, edgiest writer around. This novel is a tour de force, it fizzes with energy and ideas. Hopefully it will be the one that sees her recognised finally as a heavyweight talent.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1.0 out of 5 stars Total waste of time, 21 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Yips (Kindle Edition)
I'm @ 50% of this book, and I'm seriously questioning the point of it: so far, the book is a pointless serious of conversations and dialogues with no actual plot.

Total waste of time. And £2.99.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dispiritingly unloveable, unfunny, and yes -- it's all my fault, 28 Aug 2012
This review is from: The Yips (Hardcover)
I really did want to like this book.

Like others before me I suspect, I had this 'great idea' of reading all the books on the Man-Booker long list as a way of introducing myself to a stack of writers I knew little about.

This was number 2.

I've reached the 22% point according to my Kindle stats, and I think I'm throwing in the towel. I just... cannot... face another page because I'm certain the next page will be the same as the one before and the hundred or so before that.

Yes, the author can write and she has undoubted skill. But really, what is she wasting that skill on here? I've read no reviews yet -- not even the ones here on Amazon -- but I see she currently has 2 five star reviews, so someone likes this. I bet some of the paper reviews talk about a "richly comic landscape" and a "stream of hilarious characters" and all that sort of stuff.

My first complaint is that, more than a fifth of the way into the story, nothing has actually happened. Some people talking in a hotel bar... a bloke talking in bed.... yep, that's it. People talking, talking. Just jabbering away aimlessly.

Second, everyone talks in the same way. This sort of gabbling, solemn-articulate, urgent, sub-Pinteresque platitudinous guff. I can see the author just sitting there, tapping away for hours, pumping out this stream of stuff without knowing where the stream is heading. On! On! More! More! just throw out more dialogue. There is one woman who is a bit nuts whose gabbling, solemn-articulate, urgent sub-Pinteresque platitudinous guff is a bit more deranged than the others, but that's it really.

Third, and this is what I find most dispiriting -- I simply do not care about any of these people. We don't want every character in a novel to be nice and decent and heroic. Heaven forbid. But please, give us just one. Give us just a sniff of one somewhere in the first 22% of the 'work' or there is a hefty chance that the other 78% will lie undiscovered. Give me something to cling onto, to like, to admire, to freakin' care about.

I like comic novels as much as the next normal person. What's not to like about a good chortle? But some "richly comic landscapes" are weirdly lacking in comedy. This is one. Did any reader manage to issue a guffaw during the first 22%? I certainly didn't.

Someone somewhere will call this "beautifully observed" with "sharply drawn portraits". I know this because someone always does. The reality is that no one in the first 22% of this book is lifelike or believable. These are late-night sitcom creations. People who fart boisterously in public and mutter strings of stuff about golf courses in Krakow that you just know are lines lifted arbitrarily from the web and plastered in.

Bah!

I genuinely hope that others have better luck than me with this. Tell me I don't get it; tell me I'm a Philistine; tell me I'm as shallow as one of the author's bar-fly bores. I believe you. This is on the Man-Booker long list for god's sake so it must have merit. I'm too old, I'm too stupid. I believe you. I believe you.

Onto number 3. Farewell number 2.

-------------------

Edited to add -- This review says it relates to the hardcover edition. It is actually the Kindle edition, though that shouldn't make a difference, apart from being easier to determine the percentage read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever,complex story, 15 Sep 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Yips (Kindle Edition)
The cleverness was the merging of several apparently diverse stories until they all became linked. Only one character was an obvious type when first introduced but even that typecast was modified as the story developed. The ending was unexpected!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, typical wierdness, 2 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Yips (Hardcover)
Nicola Barker has a great back catalogue of English novels, set largely in a Southern England which is never quite as we know it. The Yips continues this theme, focussing on the troubles of a formerly high-ranked golfer who has the yips and some of the strange and weird characters he encounters whilst staying for a few days in Essex. As ever with Barker there is surrealism, excellent characterisation and beautiful writing, I found this to be a superior novel to "Darkmans", her much praised previous novel, as it managed its ending much better. Whereas Darkmans seemed to peter out, the Yips ties up the disparate threads of narrative satisfyingly by the end. Recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a funny take on today's world, 7 Aug 2012
By 
Don D (Manchester) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Yips (Hardcover)
This is an inventive and funny read. It's a little uneven - as the previous reviewer stated, there are far too many meaningful conversations and these seem contrived. Overall I enjoyed this - it doesn't deserve all the gushing reviews from the press, but it was pretty good.

My pick of the moment is the hilarious surprise hit Sherlock Holmes and the Flying Zombie Death Monkeys. Very funny indeed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More padding than an 80's jacket, 16 Jun 2013
This review is from: The Yips (Paperback)
Dreadful. Reached page 290 & deciding whether to chuck in recycling now or skim read to the end. Do yourself a favour and pick up any of Mark Haddon's
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Yips
The Yips by Nicola Barker (Paperback - 28 Mar 2013)
£6.29
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews