Longlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize. A raucous, exuberant novel about the outrageous circus surrounding David Blaine's 2003 starvation stunt at Tower Bridge, from Nicola Barker, a Granta Best of British Novelist. On 5th September 2003, New York illusionist David Blaine entered a small perspex box beside the River Thames and began starving himself. Forty-four days later he left the box. The end. The real show, of course, was on the sidelines: the crowds, the chaos, the hype and most enjoyably, the hypocrisy. Through the eyes and exploits of Adair Graham MacKenney, bitter, shameless and irreverent, we see this world for what it is: a place of illusion, delusion, celebrity and hunger. And, naturally, lust. With her Tupperware and awful shoes, Adair finds himself unaccountably drawn to the reluctant Aphra. But when has futility ever stopped anyone? Just think of the guy in the perspex box. Wickedly comic, caustic and uncommonly astute, this outrageous peep show of a novel gives us our contemporary world laid bare.
Nicola Barker lives and works in east London. She was the winner of the David Higham Prize for Fiction and joint winner of the Macmillan Silver Pen Award for Love Your Enemies,her first collection of stories. Her second story collection, Heading Inland, received the John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday Prize. Her novel Wide Open won the IMPAC Prize in 2000. She is one of Granta's 'Best Young British Novelists' of 2003.