Barker creates a fictional account based upon factual interactions. The stage is set at Craiglockhart Hospital during the Great War. Dr. W. H. Rivers cares for shell-shocked, despairing officers grappling with the aftereffects of bearing witness to combat's horrifying results. Patients include the poet and pacifist Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, a budding writer whose friendship with Sassoon nurtures his own embryonic attempts at poetry. Their dialogues and ensuing friendship lead the doctor to a personal reexamination of the ravages of war. This satisfying new work reveals a mature novelist of subtle power. ~--Alice Joyce
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Library Journal Review
In 1917, decorated British officer and poet Siegfried Sassoon wrote a declaration condemning the war. Instead of a court-martial, he was sent to a hospital for other ``shell-shocked'' officers where he was treated by Dr. William Rivers, noted an thropologist and psychiatrist. Author Barker turns these true occurrences into a compelling and brilliant antiwar novel. Sassoon's complete sanity disturbs Dr. Rivers to such a point that he questions his own role in ``curing'' his patients only to send them back to the slaughter of the war in France. World War I decimated an entire generation of European men, and the horrifying loss of life and the callousness of the government led to the obliteration of the Victorian ideal. This is an important and impressive novel about war, soldiers, and humanity. It belongs in most fiction collections.-- C. Christopher Pavek, National Economic Research As socs. Lib., Washington, D.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Pat Barker's most recent novel is Another World (FSG, 1999). She is also the author of the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy: Regeneration; The Eye in the Door, winner of the 1993 Guardian Fiction Prize; and The Ghost Road, winner of the 1996 Booker Prize. She lives in England.