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Blow Your House Down (VMC) Paperback – 7 Jun 1990


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Blow Your House Down (VMC) + Union Street (Virago Modern Classics) (Paperback)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; Reissue edition (7 Jun 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860683982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860683988
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,560 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

Review

Barker's creative vision is as in touch with the psychologically primordial as Melville's (HARPER'S)

Swift, spare, and utterly absorbing ... [Barker] makes us see her characters from within... and thereby reveals the full individuality and humanity of women who have got short shrift both in literature and in life (NY TIMES BOOK REVIEW)

Barker's talent for gently sifting through the hidden depths of the human psyche is awesome (NOVA)

Book Description

* An early novel by one of England's most important contemporary novelists.

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There were two beds and a wardrobe in the room. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By suze on 16 Aug 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this after having read The Regeneration Trilogy and, more recently, Life Class and Toby's Room. It isn't on the same level as them, but interesting to read to see how Pat Barker has grown as a writer. The story is dark and swamps you as you read, but I found myself drawn forward in a terrible fascination to see what was going to happen. The characters get a bit confusing and I found I sometimes had to go back and double check who someone was.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SJ Bailey on 9 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback
After reading this work of perfection I googled the Booker Prize winner for 1984. It was 'Hotel du Lac' by Anita Brookner. One of those books I have read but have no memory of in terms of characterisation, plot or pleasing language. I looked for the short list of nominees. Bizarrely 'Blow Your House Down' was not listed. How did this gem escape the Booker crew? I know she won a few years later for 'The Ghost Road' but I can't stand the thought of readers who like having their minds made up for them 'doing' that year's Booker and missing this important, intense experience, or dismissing it as 'one of her early books before she became good' (ie Booker worthy).

It's distinctively vivid and (curiously) both grim and warm. However, despite the northern dialect in the authorial voice and the voices of its characters (so often done as 'quaint' in the media) - it is not cozy. It's not 'Coronation Street' meets 'Prime Suspect'. It is exciting (I know that sounds perverse, but it is). It's also fast paced and it does have a 'Ten Little Indians' quality to it. You'll be thinking: 'Oh no, I hope it's not...(insert your favourite character's name here)..'s turn next.'

It is so very difficult to write about working class life when the financial constraints affecting your characters necessarily limits you to depressing landscapes and locations. No 'I had a farm in Africaaaa' for these people. However, even the bleak alleys and sodium street lamps are given a kind of(if not beauty, then) a compelling quality. The starlings gathering at the close of the novel seem as baleful as the ravens in the Tower of London in terms of atmosphere. It is so very real - you feel you're there with the working girls at the Palmeston pub in the back room: fearing, blustering, despairing.
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By Edward26 on 25 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have always enjoyed Pat Barker's books but this was in a class of its own. Very sad and raw, both in subject matter and narrative, but unsentimental and I felt truthful. I really could not put this book down. It will stay in my head for a very long time.
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