Pat Barker, Regeneration Trilogy

I am part way through rereading this exceptional trilogy set in World War One. I have read Regeneration and am just started The Eye in the Door. For those who have not read these three novels (The Ghost Road, winner of the 1995 Booker Prize, is the final novel), you should. Regeneration begins with the Declaration that the war must stop – made by Siegfried Sassoon, decorated army officer and poet and his treatment for psychological damage from his time in combat. Dr. Rivers, like Sassoon a real-life figure, is another central character, who struggles with the Army and its attitudes, the difficulty of treatment, the moral question of treating men in order to help them and then to send them back in many cases to combat. Barker’s style is lean, effective, emotion-based. I am glad I hung on to my copies of her three novels and that I am now re-reading them. One detail that has always stuck in my brain, the yellow complexions of the young and old women working in the munitions plants.  I suppose it has something to do with the memory of my mother telling me that she worked in a munitions plant in Montreal making 20mm shells during the Second World War.

Author: William J. Gibson

62 year old - writer/photographer Canadian, survived open heart surgery, received kidney transplant, sometimes dour, sometimes amusing, over six feet in height, severely follicle challemged

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