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Sharp, poignant, and frequently surreal, Small Holdings is a comedy of errors from everyday life by prize-winning author Nicola Barker
“I tried to work out which was worse; feeling different but fitting in or being different but feeling in your heart like you should fit but not quite fitting. Which was worse? Stupid question.”
An attractive park outside London plays host to Phil, a chronically shy gardener who feels truly at home only with his plants. Perhaps his closest human ally is his gentle colleague Ray, a man with all the sense and verve of a Savoy cabbage. Phil is also pining for an unattainable woman, but until her obsession with trucks abates, he knows he has little chance at true love.

Soon, however, another problem breaks into Phil’s melancholy but orderly existence: He and Ray are being tormented by their unpredictable supervisor and a malevolent one-legged man. Phil strives nobly to keep his balance despite being systematically mystified, brutalized, drugged, derided, and seduced. But when he loses his eyebrows, he decides to fight back.

Small Holdings is a novel about stupid questions. It is also a moving, funny, and provocative portrait of our time.

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