DARKMANS Hardcover – 2007
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
To talk about the plot of the novel is almost beside the point. Yes, there are story threads that run through, but they seem almost incidental, and not all are gathered neatly together at the end leaving the reader still caught in the mystery of who and how these folks in a modern Kent town become possessed (it seems) by characters from the past. When I was a kid I loved time-slip novels like Alan Garner's The Owl Service, and Phillipa Pearce's Tom's Midnight Garden, and always squeeze my eyes up tight to try to see a place as it was hundred of years ago, so this aspect of the novel greatly appealed to me.
The action doesn't (for the most part) move out of a tiny geographical area, the town of Ashford in Kent. When I've mentioned this to British friends over the past week or two, I've seen their eyes boggle in disbelief that anyone would want to set a novel there.
It's a nowhere sort of place, a transportation hub, serving the Eurostar service to continental Europe and torn up by roads. Whatever charm and history it had in the past has become pretty much obliterated in the interest of "development". But Ashford with its bypasses and Tesco's and substandard modern housing estates, is arguably the main character of the book, and the past comes back to haunt ... with a vengeance.
There's a relatively small human cast for a book this size, the interrelationships between those individuals are throughly explored.
Beede and Kane are a father and son with apartments in the same house while remaining essentially estranged from each other. Beede works in the hospital laundry and is fascinated by the past.Read more ›
Nicola Barker writes about the south east of England - small towns and suburbia. In Darkmans, she visits Ashford in Kent - disappointingly without a single reference to the tank (try googling "Ashford Tank"). Her Ashford is a mediocre town of housing estates, modern shops and the Channel Tunnel rail link. Barker's characters, invariably, are a little eccentric and quirky, but not usually in any dangerous way. Darkmans is no exception - the principal characters are Beede and Kane, a father and son; Dory, Elen and Fleet, a family; and Kelly, Kane's ex-girlfriend. And there are also a dozen or so bit part players. The delight is that none of the characters is a stereotype. None is outstandingly rich or poor; outstandingly bright or dim. They are all ordinary folk, trying their best to play to their strengths. Of the principal characters, two really stood out - Fleet, the gauche five year old who builds models from matches and adores Michelle, the lame dog; and Kelly, a Vicky Pollard character who discovers religion.
Barker's world, as well as being eccentric, also relies on coincidence. Relationships overlap, characters play different roles for different people. In Darkmans, as the novel progresses, various characters also start to develop a close relationship with the past - specifically the time of Henry VIII's court and the building of Albi cathedral in France. This preoccupation with the past gradually takes on a more and more sinister air and starts to interfere with present day relationships.Read more ›
Not for a long time have I come across a writer with such a playful feel for language. Her observations, too, are startlingly fresh and apt. Yes, the novel does rely heavily on coincidence, but then so did Thomas Hardy. I don't think her aim is to be 'realistic'. We're drawn into a more magical and mysterious version of the 'real' world, and leave the novel both entranced and enriched by the experience.
A large cast of characters inhabit this superbly edgy, utterly captivating novel. Chiefly we are concerned with Dory's family and Beede, a 61 year-old who manages a hospital laundry, and his son Kane, who half-heartedly deals drugs, both of whom are plagued by foot problems. Though they live in the same house, Beede and Kane have a further grim disability when it comes to communication - and how this aspect of their life is resolved is one of the triumphs of this book. Kane's ex-girlfriend, Kelly Broad and her bottom-feeder family also feature large. Events pile up as Dory sets Kelly's Uncle Harvey on to mend his roof (the scaffolding arrives on time, but not much else happens) and Isidore's psychotic episodes intensify.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the kind of book that certain people will give 5 stars to n order to appear erudite, well read, literate, in the know;sic. This writer uses sixteen words where one will do. Read morePublished 9 months ago by S. Pesante
So, so badly written; like a talented student's GCSE creative writing task, first draft. I perservered to see whether the irritating style / characters / plot (sic) had any point... Read morePublished 12 months ago by B. B.Crow
The first time I read this, having not read any of Nicola Barker's books before, I was baffled and bewildered. "What was the point of that?" I asked myself. Read morePublished 15 months ago by sord of troof
Darkmans is a brilliant book, haunting, multi-layered, subversive and elegaic. Although there are strange forces at work, the characters are superbly realised and completely... Read morePublished on 12 Feb. 2014 by Gelpen
I could not for the life of me puzzle out what exactly happened in this book. Apparently I must write more words about the product, even though I feel that the fact I could not... Read morePublished on 20 Nov. 2013 by Amazon Customer
Unlike many of the 1-star reviews, I actually managed to finish this monstrosity. How I found the strength, I will never know. Read morePublished on 21 Aug. 2013 by MacGuffin
So here's the thing: I'm an old fashioned girl. I like my books with a linear plot, a clear point of closure and not too many questions left unanswered. Read morePublished on 1 April 2013 by Beca
Seemingly chaotic sprawl of characters and situations that somehow starts to fit together. The characters are particularly strong. It's funny, too. Read morePublished on 5 Jan. 2013 by Dave Gilmour's cat