The Yips

Stuart Ransom, professional golfer, is drunkenly reeling off an interminable series of stats about the women’s game in Korea (or the Ladies Game, as he is determined to have it): ‘Don’t scowl at me, beautiful..!’ -directed, with his trademark Yorkshire twinkle, at Jen, who lounges, sullenly, behind the hotel bar.

What a fucking mess. I took The Yips from the library because of the title, the cover and the back text. It sounded absurd, but in an amusing way. Oh dear, how wrong I was. The only laughter that escaped my mouth was out of sheer disbelief. I disliked every character in various degrees, yet somehow still managed to finish the 550 pages.

The Yips is about several characters, all connected some way or the other. There is an over-his-peak golfer, agoraphobic tattooist of pubic hair, orthodox Muslims, a guy who survived seven cancer diagnoses (which is mentioned every time he shows up), a kid with no lower jaw and so on. They all lead miserable lives. About 80 percentage of them says everything that’s on their minds. Sex scenes exist out of comparisons with pudding and whipped cream. And for most of the time it seems like the author looked back and thought “This sentence needs to be more bloated!”.

I tried to look at it from a different view. Isn’t this one big commentary on capitalism, feminism and the obsession with eternal health? Should I spend more thought on how drink water is used to hydrate golf courses and what environmental disasters those courses are? And if I should, why is it covered by mentions of everything that happens?

The Yips is an example of about everything I don’t want in a book.

The Yips, Nicola Barker, Fourth Estate 2012

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