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The Bus on Thursday

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780708898802

Price: £8.99

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‘Intoxicating’ Jeff VanderMeer, author of Annihilation

‘Barrett’s brilliant second novel plummets headlong into a darkly funny tale’ Mail on Sunday

Bridget Jones meets Twin Peaks in this black comedy about a woman’s retreat to a remote Australian town and the horrors awaiting her.

It wasn’t just the bad breakup that turned Eleanor Mellett’s life upside down. It was the cancer. And all the demons that came with it.

One day she felt a bit of a bump when she was scratching her armpit at work. The next thing she knew, her breast was being removed by an inappropriately attractive doctor, and she was subsequently inundated with cupcakes, besieged by judgy support groups, and the ungrateful recipient of hand-knitted sweaters from her mum.

Luckily, Eleanor finds that Talbingo, a remote little town, needs a primary-school teacher. Their Miss Barker upped and vanished in the night, despite being the most caring teacher ever, according to everyone. Unfortunately, Talbingo is a bit creepy. It’s not only the communion-wine-swigging priest prone to rants about how cancer is caused by demons. Or the unstable, overly sensitive kids, always going on about Miss Barker and her amazing sticker system. It’s living alone in a remote cabin, with no phone service or wifi, wondering why there are so many locks on the front door, and who is knocking on it late at night.

Riotously funny, deeply unsettling, and surprisingly poignant, Shirley Barrett’s The Bus on Thursday is a wicked, weird, wild ride for fans of Maria Semple, Stephen King and Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. And when have those three writers ever appeared in the same sentence?

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A darkly funny story in the company of a riotous, jinxed heroine
It defies convention. I was hooked from the opening pages . . . it's laugh-out-loud horrible and perfectly nuts - you'll never find anything like it again
Fast, funny and downright weird, but a great read
Woman & Home
This is a sharp, twisted, hilarious treasure of a book. Sort of Twin Peaks meets Bad Teacher that had me laughing, wincing and falling in love with the flawed and flawless narrator
Jess Kidd
Bursting with raucous energy, while anchored in seriousness, The Bus on Thursday is an intoxicating horror-humor romp
Jeff VanderMeer, author of Annihilation
Who would have thought horror-humour would be so fun? It's chilling, but so camp and perfectly paced that it works
Barrett's narrative rushes headlong forward in a crazy and exhilarating rush of emotion and plot . . . I fell head over heels for The Bus On Thursday for its plain bonkers plot
This quirky tale is thrillingly original and wildly funny
Sunday People
Shirley Barrett has crafted a quirky, one-of-kind, wild ride of a novel with demons, kangaroos, a missing school teacher, a remote town where things are strangely off-kilter, and wonderfully bizarre cast of characters. The Bus on Thursday is a darkly funny and deeply unsettling novel you'll devour in one sitting
Jennifer McMahon
Funny, angry, feminist . . . [Barrett is] a masterly world-builder
New York Times Book Review
It's a hilarious tale, and Eleanor is the perfect anti-heroine. One to brighten gloomy afternoons
Image magazine
Hilarious . . . This witty, wise and rather demented novel occupies a strange, and possibly unique, space between screwball comedy, murder mystery and magical realism
Wendy Holden, Daily Mail
[A] bonkers, rather brilliant comedy . . . Savagely funny, The Bus On Thursday takes the nineteenth-century literary conceit of a woman going mad in the face of repressive social expectations and updates it with brio for the twenty-first century
Barrett's brilliant second novel plummets headlong into a darkly funny tale
Mail on Sunday
This quirky tale is thrillingly original and wildly funny. A slippery narrative keeps you guessing what's really going on with a sharply witty narration
Sunday Mirror
[Eleanor] is an entertainingly sardonic companion on this blackly humorous journey into horror