48. ‘The Ghost Road’ by Pat Barker – Vol.III of the Regeneration Trilogy.

The final volume in what both Mum and I considered to be one of the best series of books ever written about the First World War. ‘The Ghost Road’ is a magnificent conclusion, focusing very much the characters already introduced in the first books;  especially Rivers, the psychiatrist, and Billy Prior; and introducing some new ones as well.

I can’t put it better than Kate Kellaway’s Observer review extract on the back cover..

‘There’s a savage carnality about Barker’s writing…Her portrait of Prior is unforgettable; frightening and frightened, a peculiar mixture of conscience, repression, and violent sexual release…while it depends upon the withheld emotions of war for its tension, it allows laughter and grief in the reader. At the end, I had tears running down my cheeks’.

So did I. I re-read this late late year, and it affected me just as deeply as it did the first time I read it. I particularly enjoyed finding out more about Rivers and his anthropological background, and the scenes with Billy’s fiancee, Sarah Lumb, and her awful mother Ada are marvellous – ‘He’d been looking all along at a face scoured out by grief, and he’d never known it till now’.

This volume won the Booker Prize in 1995, unsurprisingly, and although you could read and enjoy it alone, I would seriously recommend getting your hands on the first two volumes and reading it in order. The first is simply called ‘Regeneration’, the second is ‘The Eye in the Door’.

As always, let me know if you would like this copy, either here or on the Facebook/Instagram pages, and I’ll send it to you with love from Mum and I.

I do know that one of our Facebook ‘Mums Book Club’ members has the first two volumes…but rather embarrassingly, I can’t remember who! BUT please get in touch if you’d like this…(I am fairly sure however that after reading the first two, you probably went and found a copy of this one!)

 

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