Booker 2012 – what is going on?

Nicola Barker The YIPS.  I am not even sure that it should be in capitals, but that feels right somehow.  Yips is a golfing term (apparently) for someone who has lost their form.  It could also be an acronym for Young Idiots Plain Silly.  In this self-obsessed rattlebag of characters it is hard to decide which ones could possibly make me more angry.  The novel rambles backwards and forwards among the ramifications of several relationships, all of them in some idiotic way connected to a failed golf pro: poseur, prima donna, prick called Stuart Ransom.  Not one character is wholly believable, in character or out, and therefore although there are some comedic moments, I have failed to latch on to anyone sympathetically.  What a waste of paper – there might even be something to say for eBooks.  Gosh, did I write that?

Alison Moore The Lighthouse.  This is also rather a strange read.  Futh is on a journey.  The child of a broken home, he has now left his own wife, Alison.  Carrying with him very little of importance except a small silver lighthouse that once held a vial of perfume.  The reasons for leaving home, for the absence of the vial of perfume, the possession of the lighthouse and everything behind everything else is slowly and painstakingly revealed.  Futh’s vulnerability, his failure to measure up to Kenny, his childhood friend; to his father who turns into an unutterable bully after his mother leaves; even to his own marriage all add up in incomparable awfulness as each part of the trajectory is exposed.  The journey has a purpose and like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, the purpose has come upon him suddenly but from a long way back.  During the journey Futh meets people who one way or another make him see things from a different perspective.  The lighthouse in his pocket is part of the reason, but in real life lighthouses have a purpose – to guide ships to safety; Futh is a ship at sea, the book starts out with Futh on a ferry but Futh’s voyage takes him overland and any guiding beam is hard to discern, let alone follow: he only has a map and problems with his feet…but he should have kept the lighthouse in his pocket.




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