Small Holdings

Nicola Barker

Hilarious, poignant and frequently surreal, Small Holdings is a is a comedy of errors from a neglected corner of everyday life by the brilliantly unconventional Nicola Barker.

An attractive park in Palmers Green plays host to Phil, a chronically shy gardener who feels truly at home only with his plants. He and his gentle colleague Ray, a man with all the sense of a Savoy cabbage, are tortured by Doug, their imposing and unpredictable supervisor, and a malevolent one-legged ex-museum curator called Saleem. In love with the truck-obsessed Nancy, Phil strives nobly to maintain his equilibrium despite being systematically mystified, brutalised, drugged, derided and seduced. But when he loses his eyebrows, he decides to fight back.

Reviews of Small Holdings

    • ‘Funny and intelligent. Barker’s sense of plot and comic timing is faultless’ Rachel Cusk, The Times
    • ‘Marvellous … explodes into action, with Barker letting off fireworks and flares in all directions’ TLS
    • ‘[Barker] writes of the comic and sometimes sinister surrealism of ordinary people’s lives, and the results are books to make you wince, gasp and laugh out loud’ Independent on Sunday
    • ‘An anarchic and lovingly perverse writer’ Ali Smith
    • ‘Edgy and comic, it succeeds by virtue of Barker’s flamboyant sense of the absurd’ Elle
    • ‘A clever and quirky tale. You’ll find Nicola Barker’s writing as easy to swallow as a glass of milk’ Cosmopolitan