I Am Sovereign


Guardian Charles, a 40-year-old boutique teddy bear maker and wearer of ironic t-shirts, is trying – and failing – to sell his small, characterless house in Llandudno. Avigail, yes Avigail, his estate agent, is trying – mostly in vain – to rein in Charles’s most unhelpful eccentricities, including his repeated recounting to potential buyers of an unsuccessful burglary that took place 12 years ago. When Wang Shu and her daughter view the house, a series of seemingly innocuous events distorts the reality of the characters’ lives, causing Avigail to revaluate her beliefs – and all of the characters to question their very existence.

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‘One of the funniest, most finely achieved comic novels, even by her own standard ? I think it’s a masterpiece.’ ALI SMITH

‘I think Nicola Barker is incapable of a dull page. [Her work] is unified by its spirit of adventure.’ KEVIN BARRY

How long does it take to change the world?
Could it happen in approximately twenty minutes?

Charles, a forty-year-old teddy bear maker, is trying to sell his late mother’s house, helped by his estate agent Avigail (who thinks Charles is an imbecile). The prospective buyers: the fearsome Wang Shu – who has no desire to make idle chit-chat – and her downtrodden daughter, Ying Yue.

During the twenty-minute viewing a huge number of things happen, although it is also entirely possible that nothing happens at all. Which is it? Can the world really turn on its axis during a mundane discussion about cheese preservation? Has fiction the power to do that? Should it even want to?
She really is a genius.’ GUARDIAN

‘Life-affirming hilarity – Evelyn Waugh on ecstasy.’ NELL ZINK

‘A madly brilliant little book that asks who at any point is in control of what. I loved it.’ DAILY MAIL

Nicola Barker’s wildness and capacity for the absurd often delight me.’ SARAH MOSS

What an audacious writer Nicola Barker is ? In an era when plot is king, Barker has typically, joyously, dispensed with one ? Barker’s pleasure in the novella feels defiant.’ EVENING STANDARD

I Am Sovereign is bursting with energy, compassion and humour.’ LITERARY REVIEW

Barker is a writer in a class of her own ? A work of coruscating intelligence, of deep humanity.’ OBSERVER

A riotous burst of a novel that scrutinises the nature of fiction with the lightest of touches.’ MAIL ON SUNDAY

A bracing, brilliantly bonkers comic novel ? This is freewheeling fiction that delights in the visual.’ SUNDAY TIMES

Barker’s writing is very, very funny, both ha ha and strangeFans of Ali Smith’s “Seasonal Quartet” will enjoy a similarly arch, detached view on the banality of contemporary BritainA gloriously audacious blend of, well, the deep and the trite.’ INDEPENDENT

Additional information

Weight 0.159 kg
Dimensions 19.8 × 12.9 × 12.9 cm










1st paperback ed


823.92 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K