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The Man Who Wasn't There (1989)

by Pat Barker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1473147,864 (3.5)7
This story of a 1950s latch-key kid and his search for a father, is a mixture of make-believe and gritty reality. The author's other books include Union Street, Blow Your House Down and The Century's Daughter.
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» See also 7 mentions

English (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (3)
Showing 2 of 2

A short novel/longish novella that's in a way an extension of the Walter Mitty idea. Young Colin knows nothing of his father except that he must have fought -- and died? -- in Europe during World War II. His mother won't tell him anything; neither will any of the other adults around him. So, as he wanders around his postwar neighbourhood, Colin acts out some of what he believes his father's glorious adventures must have been -- and making of them a mental movie whose script Barkers offers us intertwined with the main narrative. The effect's often very funny, sometimes extremely moving. Still, I think Barker was wise not to try to extend this to a full-scale novel; The Man Who Wasn't There is just long enough the way it is.

Oh, and it has nothing to do with the Coen Brothers movie of the same name.
( )
  JohnGrant1 | Aug 11, 2013 |
Interesting book that will probably reveal more upon re-reading. It leaves plenty to the reader's imagination, and although that can be intriguing, it also makes the themes and main storyline hard to grasp at times.
  Nevris | Jan 13, 2009 |
Showing 2 of 2
[N]ot altogether satisfying . . . Nevertheless, the story of the young boy's need for his father and growing closeness to his mother is an oddly provocative piece of fiction.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barker, Patprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Becker, PaulNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blake, ArthurNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bruurmijn, JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kamnert, KristinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Bouille, LucienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Møller-Madsen, LisbethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Preis, AnnikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tarlofsky, MalcolmCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Colin Harper, one eye open for snipers, turned the corner into his own road.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This story of a 1950s latch-key kid and his search for a father, is a mixture of make-believe and gritty reality. The author's other books include Union Street, Blow Your House Down and The Century's Daughter.

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