Loitering With Intent

Nicola Barker's Cult Following

Behindlings is not Barker's best novel—that would be Wide Open. The novel's plot is far too convoluted even for her own characters, those dedicated students of conspiracy theory. When one follower tries to articulate his own ideas about why the Loiter matters to him, words crumble in his mouth: "They were all waiting for life to take over; in all its sheer, crushing . . . the sap . . . the brutality . . . —because that's what he stood for—Wasn't it?" Don't expect the pieces to come together neatly and you might just enjoy Behindlings, for the distinct pleasures of disorientation.

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