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Old 2nd Mar 2008, 9:13   #1
Colyngbourne
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Default Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

Open for discussion...

I've just finished it, and *think* I liked it but there's equally something about it which was unconvincing and just smacked of the author being clever-clever.
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Old 2nd Mar 2008, 9:37   #2
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

I see it's available from the library so I'll pick it up but not sure I want to read it... this is one of those rare times when I want to see what other people think first, having been put off Barker by Darkmans.
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Old 2nd Mar 2008, 9:57   #3
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

I don't know what it was 'about'. I know books don't have to be about anything in particular, but there were clearly (no pun intended) parallels meant to be going on between Blaine's stunt and the various meanings people imputed to it, and how Adair perceives the people in his immediate life and the stories that they hold/conceal. I don't like the suspicion that "I don't know what it all means" is possibly part of what the author intended, just like no-one can come to a conclusion about Blaine's motives/thoughts. Weirdly, on reflection, it's like taking part in a piece of art the more you think about it: I would rather divorce myself from the text and have something definite to say about it:

well, the narrator (Adair) seems to combine the irritating and the amusing. It was cleverly written: if Aphra is a shoe devotee, then so is he (I don't think any ordinary man would have the phrase "kitten heels" in their basic vocabulary). Then there are the infuriating tupperware boxes of food Aphra carries around to the hospital, minute portions of food with bento-style cuteness and precision as well as exquisite taste. There is a man who is denying himself food and a man who is incapable of eating, and wacky things happening inbetween. Really, I am struggling to make sense of it, and it's not just that I am only capable of handling linear texts. Not so. I just don't know what this story was about, any more than anyone knew what Blaine's thing was about. I think I come away feeling 'used' by the author to exemplify what's going on in the book: if that is part of the purpose (or perhaps I'm just dim), then I don't like it and it's a bit of cleverness I can do without.

Assistance, anyone?

(I found it easy to read, and laugh-out-loud in places, but I'm still not convinced I liked it...)
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Old 2nd Mar 2008, 10:20   #4
John Self
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

Haven't read it and not sure I intend to, since even Barker devotees seem to think it's a secondary work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Col
I don't think any ordinary man would have the phrase "kitten heels" in their basic vocabulary
I do! Or at least I know what they are!
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Old 2nd Mar 2008, 10:29   #5
Ang
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

I am curious which of you (meaning the admin team) chose this and why.

It sounds like it might be as irritating as Darkmans, but what it may have going for it is it is not as looooong. I think I could have finished Darkmans if it was half the length, but texts that make no sense and aren't meant to make sense need to be kept shorter than those which do have a bit of a point.
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Old 2nd Mar 2008, 10:31   #6
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

We chose it collectively because last year a few people suggested it - MisterHobgoblin, Kimberley and possibly leyla - so we thought it was likely it would be widely read and discussed come the time. But those folk aren't around any more, so it probably won't be.
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Old 2nd Mar 2008, 13:11   #7
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Self View Post
I do! Or at least I know what they are!
I was thinking of yer-average-bloke on the street [which I would esteem you not to be ], I didn't think would use the description if they were telling a story in the vernacular as the narrator seems to be.

It's a strange story. I don't think it would endear me to read any more Barker.
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Old 2nd Mar 2008, 13:12   #8
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

I think ono is reading it - anyone else?
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Old 2nd Mar 2008, 13:18   #9
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

Having looked over the Barker thread again after JS reminded me of where the request came from, BeccaK and kirsty both thought they'd join in when it came up as a suggestion (September '07).
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Old 2nd Mar 2008, 16:17   #10
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

Heh, no pressure then ladies!
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