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Darkmans by Nicola Barker
More Details Original Title. Thames Gateway 3. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Darkmans , please sign up.
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I feel like i read somewhere that Darkmans can stand alone. However, for those of you who have read it, would I need to read the first two of the series to enjoy this book? Elros No characters or plot lines run between the books. So you don't have to …more No characters or plot lines run between the books. So you don't have to read any of the others. See 1 question about Darkmans…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Darkmans Thames Gateway, 3. I was stunned. I was bored. I laughed.
I sighed. I was disturbed. I was elated. I couldn't put it down.
Nicola Barker: Darkmans
I dreaded having to pick it up. I chortled. I grunted. I embraced this tome's rogue's gallery. I was exasperated by them.
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- Darkmans (Thames Gateway, #3) by Nicola Barker.
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I was moved. I was impatient. I was apprehensive. I was excited. I felt stirrings.
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I lengthened and shortened. I smiled. I frowned. I snorted. I rolled my eyes. I dug for nuggets. I backslid. I was propelled by its ebullience. I held my breath. I farted.
I zoned right in. I I was stunned.
I was fist-punched by history. I was rabbit-punched by melancholy. I consumed it by the light of day. I devoured it beneath the cold night glowering. It accompanied me to the bathroom. I marveled at the book's thickness. I inhaled its fragrant pages. I was bracketed by its sans-serif typography. I cradled it. I thumbed backwards and re-read at leisure. I was inspired.
I book-dreamed. I was exhausted. I was entertained. I was impressed. Deeply impressed. All of this is to say that I loved Darkmans and I think Barker's one mightily talented glimmer gal. This phone directory of effervescent fiction is a bit of a stumper, no question about it. Eight hundred and thirty-eight entertaining and mostly brilliant pages under the belt and several days to chew the whole shebang over, and I still cannot ascertain, with any degree of certainty, what exactly transpired to a select crew of the denizens of Ashford, a coastal town in Kent that is linked to, and given new life by, the Channel Tunnel.
Ashford is a curious and, at times, alienating mix of the thoroughly modern surrounding a medieval core, the transient and ephemeral laid to drape over a foundation much more rooted within the pregnant past of England's well-watered history. These denizens who comprise Barker's narrative core—the estranged father and son pairing of Beede and Kane; Beede's demi-German friend Isidore and his bewitching chiropodist wife Elen whom said father and son simultaneously pine for together with their borderline autistic five-year old son, Fleet; Kane's newly acquired personal assistant Gaffar, a transplanted Turkish Kurd with claims to a most sanctified lineage; and Kane's teenage ex-girlfriend Kelly Broad, a chav's chav, along with various relations from her locally notorious family—all appear to be afflicted by the baleful and mischievous spirit of one John Scogin, a rather errant and, at times, nasty individual who served as jester to the court of Edward IV back in the days of the War of the Roses.
Scogin, the Darkman of the title, appears as a haunting presence with a proclivity for the invasion and possession of these intertwined individuals, who are all caught-up in their own intricately structured travails; but he also serves as a nominal representation of history, and the many ways that history, utterly permeated as it is within the physical world that surrounds us, has of overtaking us as we wend our way throughout daily life and springing all manner of unexpected, unwanted, and unpredictable traps.
Several people have described Darkmans as being plotless, but that's inaccurate and unwarranted; the plot consists of the interlinked pathways that each of the characters wanders during the course of the story's unfolding, beginning with a chance meeting between the prescription drug-dealing Kane and his austerely efficient and modernity-antipathetic father, Beede in personality not unlike the Venerable forebear whose name, less one e , he shares. And each of them in their turn—Elen, Fleet, Beede, Kane—come to exhibit the signs of being possessed by this Scogin for reasons that are beyond their ken.
So here's the skinny: I truly enjoyed Darkmans and all of the wonderful touches Barker provides throughout: effectively natural dialogue that parks the reader right within the conversational flow; absurd and comic antics abutting creepy and tense situations; splendid set-pieces that perfectly compliment each other, even when seeming superfluous to the story's progression; dips across time to flesh out personal histories; and the references to Scogin and his bounty of clever, but cruel, tricks and his connexions across the tenebrous strands of time with these twenty-first century inhabitants—indeed, a microcosm of modern England offering a window into a corner of Kent that wonderfully captures the present with all of its quirks and contradictions.
Barker cleverly allows room for differing interpretations of what each afflicted character is undergoing: is it possession by a mischievous, potentially malevolent ghost?