Wide Open

Paperback / softback
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Winner of IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2000, Wide Open is the first of Nicola Barker's Thames Gateway novels. Poking out of the River Thames estuary, the strange Isle of Sheppey is home to a nudist beach, a nature reserve, a wild boar farm and not much else. The landscape is bleak, but the people are interesting. There's Luke, who specialises in join-the-dots pornography and lippy, outraged Lily. They are joined by Jim, the 8-year-old Nathan and the mysterious, dark-eyed Ronnie. Each one floats adrift in turbulent currents, fighting the rip tide of a past that swims with secrets. Only if they see through the lies and prejudice will they gain redemption. Wide Open is about coming to terms with the past, and the fantasies people construct in order to protect their fragile inner selves.