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Summary

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize
Shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize

An ambitious noble and his three serving men travel through the Irish countryside in the stifling summer of 1348, using the advantage of the plague which has collapsed society to buy up large swathes of property and land. They come upon Nobber, a tiny town, whose only living habitants seem to be an egotistical bureaucrat, his volatile wife, a naked blacksmith and a beautiful Gaelic hostage. Meanwhile, a band of marauding Gaels are roaming around, using the confusion of the sickness to pillage and reclaim lands that once belonged to them. 

As these groups converge upon the town, the habitants, who up until this point have been under strict curfew, begin to stir from their dwellings, demanding answers from the intruders. A deadly stand-off emerges from which no one will escape unscathed.

©2019 Oisín Fagan (P)2020 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critic reviews

"A dark and bloody tale, well leavened with bone-dry humour and with a dramatic climax that has about it the flavour of a Jacobean tragedy." (Guardian)

"A writer out to do whatever the hell he wants...a grisly, gross-out slice of medieval life and death, it's vigorously, writhingly itself, spilling out of any box you put it in." (Observer)

"Nobber is hallucinatory and sly, conjuring a densely strange and savagely captivating world. There are lots of novels and there are lots of novels that are all much alike, but there is nothing like Nobber." (Colin Barrett)

What listeners say about Nobber

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Funny but devastating

Against other more pressing themes of death and it’s associated phenomena, Nobber, at it’s best, is an image of economic colonialism and the faux-morality that comes about due to it. Sophisticated, dark, trippy - all told behind a wry grin. Highly recommend.

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I couldn't finish this, I tried

I don't know how to describe this type of writing. The words, the actions of the characters, in no way mesh. Flowery, high blown, inappropriate. Mud hut dwelling medieval villagers trying to speak like Irish William Shakespears, while the plague destroys the land.

The behavior of NO ONE in the book makes any rational sense.

Great literature to some. A refund request for me.

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Like A Field in England for the ears

A compelling/repelling listen. A bleak story delivered masterfully by the reader. The writing holds riches and the reader gives one of the greatest performances I have ever heard. Simply awesome, a real tour de force that gets inside the text and gloriously fingers the entrails of the tale. Extraordinary and essential!

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Excellent

A wonderful story, and a superb narrator. I enjoyed every minute of it. Fagan is a writer to keep an eye on.