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Darkmans

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In this epic, delirium-inducing Mad Tea Party ride, we’re parachuted into the lives of some eccentric English everymen. They include immaculately dull hospital laundryman Daniel Beede; his prescription-drug-dealing son, Kane (a Nick Hornby character for the cheap seats); Elen, an ominous chiropodist; and Gaffar, a smart-alecky Kurdish immigrant. Though Darkmans set in modern-day Ashford, Kent, the spirit of John Scogin, court jester to 15th-century king Edward IV, shows up from time to time to wreak havoc. Nicola Barker’s novel like no other — hilarious, bizarre, and possibly mind-altering. A-

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