Monday, January 10, 2011

Pat Barker

When I first read Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy, her novels of World War One, and the damaged souls who survived, I knew I had read the works of a master craftsman. Many of the characters were real, stirred in with strong fictional protagonists. A few years ago I read another of her novels, Life Class. One theme in this book dealt with a man who worked on reconstructing the horrible facial wounds incurred in that war.

I just finished reading her contemporary novel, many-layered Another World, a sometime ghost story, sometime family drama, sometime history lesson.  The main protagonist, Nick, has a 101-year old grandfather,Geordie, a survivor of the Battle of the Somme. In the days after WWI, when PTSD was unheard of, what did survivors do? They were supposed to carry on, but of course it didn't work for many. As Geordie is dying, his dreams are haunted by a memories of the war. And the house that Nick and his family move into, is haunted-perhaps.

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