What an audacious writer Nicola Barker is. Equally, how bold of her publishers to put this oddity of a novella out into the world. In an era when plot is king, Barker has typically, joyously, dispensed with one. She has also chucked out nearly everything you might expect from fiction. At almost the end of the book, she declares “The overriding concept for I Am Sovereign is that it should take place, in its entirety, during a twenty-minute house viewing in Llandudno”.
Charles is a 40-year-old Welshman of Bulgarian descent who is a boutique teddy bear maker and is trying unsuccessfully to sell his house, not least because he keeps telling prospective buyers about an attempted burglary 12 years previously. This is all slightly beyond meta-fiction: the characters fight with the author to be represented differently, to not have their names corrected by spellcheck or the copy-editor, and some of this is amusing.