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Regeneration (Regeneration Trilogy) Paperback – 1 May 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141030933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141030937
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A brilliant novel. Intense and subtle (Peter Kemp Sunday Times)

From the Back Cover

Craiglockhart, a hospital for officers ravaged by their experiences in trench warfare, is the setting for Pat Barker's 'Regeneration'. Here the poet Siegfried Sassoon, author of an article condemning the war, came under the care of psychiatrist W.H.R Rivers whose duty, as he saw it, was to return Sassoon to all the horrors of the Front, because Sassoon was sane, was healthy – and he had made a commitment. But while the encounter of Sassoon and Rivers is central to 'Regeneration', it is the exploration of the character of Rivers himself, the agony of the other patients and the insights into their minds, that makes this a tour-de-force. A superb novel related with chilling clarity and vivid compassion.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Christian Spriet on 8 Feb 2005
Format: Paperback
Though often mentioned alongside the likes of Faulks's Birdsong and Susan Hill's Strange Meeting, Regeneration does not exactly come up to the 'regular' qualification of a war novel. Instead, what novelist Pat Barker sets out to attain is to trace the mental paralysis the war leaves in man's mind as well as exploring the courageous, though mostly inept, ways for all those involved, to cope.
As a psychiatrist at Craiglockhart Hospital, psychiatrist W.H. Rivers, a historically authentic character and a kind-hearted, get-at-able, even noble person, faces up to the impossible task to try and free his inmates-patients from the war demons that do not cease to haunt their minds.
In this process he gets involved in their regeneration process at a personal level as they grow able to express the horrors that have incapacitated them psychologically.
Barker follows the treatment undergone by war poet Siegfried Sassoon (aka Mad Jack) upon his arrival at Craiglockhart after throwing his brave conduct medal into the river Mersey and publishing his notorious anti-war statement in the Times.
Another riveting feature of the book is when Sassoon meets young Wilfred Owen and encourages the young poet in his writing aspirations.

In Regeneration, admittedly, the war merely serves as an undercurrent; but Barker succeeds admirably in turning it into a dramatic device to explore the complex issues she sets forth to clarify.
Being a doctor, Rivers' job is to preserve life. However, in just doing this, he ends up getting the men back on their feet again so they are ready to go back to the front (to get killed there just the same).
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By D. Glowacki on 16 Nov 2008
Format: Paperback
An interesting,introverted book,based on Dr Rivers study of some of his more famous clients.It's wonderfully written,and Barkers characters ooze,a moody,intellectual,introverted mind set.The tone of the book has a nice sepia,style to it,and the sadness of war and pointless death is always there.This is a book for people who like the physchological side of WW1 and all of it's dilemmas,rather than the actual gun fight in the trenches.Barker concentrates on understatement and introspection to bring the book,and it's characters to life.This will become a "classic" of it's genre in the fullness of time
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SJSmith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Jun 2007
Format: Paperback
This is my first dip into Pat Barker's novel. I have the trilogy but I'm reading them a book at a time so I don't overload myself with the topic matter.

Fantastically written, each character comes to life throughout the novel. I found it interesting from a teacher's perspective as I have taught Sassoon, Owen and Graves so it was good to see their relationships. The characters are vivid, she has written them with such clarity and imagination. The binding character is Dr Rivers and the bok is about his interaction with the patients that are sent to him.

The book is a mix of facts and fiction and it's difficult to tell where one ends and the other starts to be honest. Her source material is wide-ranging and I'm sure the bits I thought were fact were. It discussed parts of the First Wolrd War that were different to my previous reading - such as centering around Craiglockhart. It gives the readers a chance to get to know the mental health issues surrounding the soldiers and is a book that will stay in my mind for a while.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Nov 1998
Format: Paperback
One of the most impressive books I have read in ages. A worthy Booker Prize winner. What impressed me the most was the subject matter and how it was handled. On the surface the "shrink" sessions of a First World War poet does not seem to be a far reaching let alone interesting subject for a novel. However, I was utterly engrossed by the story of the rehabilitation of not just Sassoon but all the other "inmates" of Craiglockhart as well. The anti war message is very clear and well argued from the author's point of view and in retrospect Sassoon was quite right. The sadness of the stories from the Front, the breakdowns and the attitude of the government and military are impressively recreated, as unfortunately are the methods of some other military hospitals. The appearance of Wilfred Owen should inspire readers to try his poetry, it is wonderful, honest and heartbreaking. All the waste of war, yards of mud for thousands of lives are here. Lest we forget, this is indeed an important work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 29 Sep 2004
Format: Paperback
This novel, which forms part of the 'Regeneration Trilogy' is a harrowing, yet reflective read on the Great War. As a student of Modern History the author uses a balance of fact (the meeting between Owen and Sassoon, two of the greatest poets of the War, at Craiglockart Hospital, and their encounter with Dr W Rivers) and fiction, to demonstrate the horror of the First World War.
I learnt more from this book than I did from many set texts. A truly rivetting read from cover to cover. As are the further two novels which make up the trilogy.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Hippoellie on 2 July 2007
Format: Paperback
I disagree with the last reviewer and find it fascinating that many of the reviews focus on WWI. This book is set against the background of WWI and its portrayals of various horiffic incidents is insightful- but these incidents serve to show us the why and the how of each of the individuals in this book. It focusses on each one, each man as a person ravaged by horror seeking a hiding place from it, but unable to leave behind the stinking, dying flesh of war. Take each man out of the machine of war, and he is no longer a hero among 20 million heroes, but a man. Attitudes towards mental health and duty form the true core of this novel (as subsequent novels in the trilogy focus on sex and then, finally on the mundanity of 'action'). No character is entirely sympathetic, even Rivers, the 'father' at the heart of the novel.

Human flaws are saddening, but also maddening, and the arrogance of breeding (versus the unthinking sacrifice of the working classes) leaves you with some distaste at the actions of Sassoon and others (a man who had not done a day's work in his life until the war came along). Men in Sassoon's position were coddled back to service, while men of lesser breeding were simply shot before they could spread discontent in the ranks.

Barker does not seek to justify anything- you are left to form your own opinions, and slowly cotton on to the fact that neither Sassoon nor Rivers are the heart of this novel, but that Billy Prior, whose life we will follow in the later novels, is the everyman- not a hero, not a coward, not lovable nor particularly handsome, but nevertheless selected by Barker as our guide through the inexplicable horrors of 1914-1919.

I read this recently as part of the '1001 books to read before you die' series, and was deeply impressed by it- having read some of Barker's earlier work I had though that I would hate it. Glad to be proved very wrong!
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