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Another World Paperback – 1 Jul 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (1 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140258981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140258981
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 428,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pat Barker's books include Union Street (1982), winner of the 1983 Fawcett Prize, which has been filmed as "Stanley and Iris"; Blow Your House Down (1984); Liza's England (1986), formerly The Century's Daughter; The Man Who Wasn't There (1989); Another World; Border Crossing; and the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy, comprising Regeneration, The Eye in The Door, winner of the 1993 Guardian Fiction Prize, and The Ghost Road, winner of the 1995 Booker Prize for Fiction. Her latest novel is Life Class.

Barker's powerful early novels Union Street (Virago) and Blow Your House Down (Virago) memorable books celebrating the individuality of the lives of 'ordinary' women. After this the focus of her writing shifted slightly and her Regeneration trilogy was widely praised for its astute and unflinching portrayal of issues of violence, sexuality and class against the backdrop of World War One. The violence of the First World War also coloured the backdrop of Pat Barker's next novel, Another World, which looked at its effects on following generations and this theme is picked up again in Border Crossing.

Pat Barker was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in 1943. She was educated at the London School of Economics and has been a teacher of history and politics. She lives in Durham.


Product Description

Amazon Review

Award-winning author of The Regeneration Trilogy, Pat Barker has established her reputation as one of the most powerful and versatile novelists writing today. Her eighth novel, Another World, sustains and extends her scope, telling a powerful and complex tale of family, memory, illness and war. Haunted by memories of the First World War, Geordie is dying of cancer; haunted by the violence of families past (and present) his grandson Nick struggles with his thoroughly modern marriage: angry stepchildren, exhausting toddler, miserably pregnant wife. Wracked by guilt, Geordie relives his brother's death in the trenches, and his mother's grieving verdict: "It should have been you." Uncovering the intimate and public reach of Geordie's history, Nick is forced up against the "power of old wounds to leak into the present" and the paradoxical fragility--or pliancy--of personal memory. Weaving into her fictional worlds some of the most disturbing images of contemporary Britain--Peter Sutcliffe, Cromwell Street, "an older boy taking a toddler by the hand while his companion strides ahead, eager for the atrocity to come"--Barker draws her themes together into a remarkable, sometimes ruthless, study of family life and death. --Vicky Lebeau --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

""Another World" demonstrates the extraordinary immediacy and vigor of expression we have come to expect from Barker . . . A powerful and moving and deeply humane study of the tyranny of the past and the quandaries of the present."--Barry Unsworth, "The New York Times Book Review" "[Pat Barker] is the natural successor to George Orwell, like him a keen and passionate defender of humiliated children, foot soldiers and what's become of the British working class."--"Newsday" "One of Pat Barker's gifts is her mix of compassion and bleak realism . . . Barker's confidence as a stripped-down, elegant stylist is evenly matched by her moral depth.""--""The Boston Sunday Globe" "Barker is capable of getting across a powerful message with the absolute minimum of rhetoric, one of the rarest gifts a writer can be blessed with. The surface simplicity of her method conceals, then slowly reveals, a narrative with all the richness and complexity of a symphony."--"The New Criterion" "Thi

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 May 1999
Format: Hardcover
Barker might have entitled this novel Still Another World, so many overlapping worlds does she present here. On the surface it is the story of Nick and the complex life he now shares with his second wife and new son, his ex-wife and daughter, and his strange stepson. It is the story, too, of the Fanshawe family, a much earlier, and also troubled, family that once inhabited the house Nick is now restoring.
But it is especially the story of Geordie, Nick's 101-year-old grandfather and the worlds he has known, including the world of war. Although Nick learned as a child that "You had to be two people, one in each world [of family and of school]," he has always believed that his grandfather "never changed; belonged to only one world." Now that Geordie is dying, however, Nick learns of Geordie's other worlds: his family life, his difficulties after World War I, his marriage, his war nightmares, the haunting death of his brother in battle, and his mother's comment that the wrong son died. And we see the tyranny of memory as Geordie relives his brother Harry's dying moments. Geordie himself says, "I know that what I remember seeing is false. It can't have been like that, and so the one thing I need to remember clearly, I can't ....It's as clear as this hand...only it's wrong."
These vividly depicted battles, real and symbolic, all raise questions of responsibility and blame as each character assesses the accuracy of his own memory. Even the supernatural is evoked, peripherally, as characters consider whether they have really seen what they think they have seen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Mar. 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is excellent. A narrative that never loses it's hold and serious themes like family dynamics and the uncertainties of memory. There are two main threads to the book and they are linked by the figure of Nick who, with his second wife Fran is moving into a new home, an event that exposes all sorts of family tensions. Among other things there is an acute children/step children problem. At the same time Nick is visiting his dying grandfather, one of the last surviving veterans of WW1. Geordie is haunted by memories of the trenches and believes it is his war wound rather than cancer that is killing him. There is another element that reflects the book's themes: a sinister family portrait is exposed when they strip some wallpaper off and seems to echo down the years with resonances for Nick, Fran and the children. Is the house haunted? Are the step-siblings repeating some awful event from the past? Why does Geordie say to Nick 'I am in hell'? Everything in this book rings true. The trip in glaring baking heat to the metrocentre with a squalling infant and his petulant furious older stepbrother; the awkwardness of the adolescent trying to do the right thing; and above all, the author's exploration of the dangers that can lie within a relentless memory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James on 8 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Nick and Fran are married with one small son and another child due to be born soon. Each has a child from an earlier relationship; both these children have problems, especially Fran's rather loathsome son Gareth. Nick's 101-year-old grandfather, Geordie, is the other principal character. Geordie is dying of cancer and is haunted by bad memories of his service on the front line in world war one.

Far and away the best part of this book, in my view, is Geordie. He is a fascinating character and Barker's treatment of him, and of his battle against rapidly encroaching death, is very well done. She effectively captures both the dignity of an old man who has lived a good life, and the indignities imposed by the physical frailties of old age. Geordie's memories of world war one, and of the death in action of his brother Harry, are also an important and effective part of the book. The high quality of this writing is what I had expected: I had been recommended to read Barker's work by someone who knew of my interest in historical fiction associated with world war one. This part of the book fully lived up to the recommendation, and I will certainly follow up other books by Barker which apparently focus more intensively on world war one and its aftermath.

Unfortunately the rest of the book isn't so good, in my view. There are too many largely unconnected sub-plots concerning Nick, Fran, their various children, and their discoveries about the possibly murky past of some previous owners of their house. Some of these sub-plots are introduced but then left hanging in the air rather than being resolved; others are dealt with at greater length but don't seem to have any connection with the rest of the book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Feb. 2000
Format: Paperback
This is simply stunning; for the first time in ages I forgot where I was reading this book, I was completely hooked and couldn't stop reading well into the early hours of the next day. The writing is breathtaking. I would recommend this book to anyone, just to be left with the same feeling I had by the time I'd finished the book. More please!
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