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Border Crossing Paperback – 4 Apr 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (4 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140270744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140270747
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 140,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Border Crossing is haunted by one of the most disturbing figures in contemporary English culture: the child who kills. The award-winning Regeneration trilogy established Pat Barker's reputation as a novelist able to revive the traumas of war at the beginning of the 20th century. But her most recent fiction (Another World and, now, Border Crossing) revisits the terrain of her first novels (Union Street, Blow Your House Down). The dismal, if commonplace, violence of family life, violence between husbands and wives, fathers and children, children and children is explored alongside the more sensational story of a young man, Danny, whom, tracking down the psychologist who helped to convict him for the murder he committed as a child, wants to "talk about how impossible it was to leave the past behind". A tense, and seductive, relation develops between Danny and Tom Seymour, a professional forced to make his own return to a past in which he has played a defining part in someone else's life. As the brutal details of Danny's crime emerge, Barker confronts the possibilities of cure through time, through speech, through the attention given by one man to another. Danny is a man who is "very, very good at getting people to step across that invisible border", a character who draws attention to the pain, and helplessness, of having been a child. But Border Crossing also refuses to lose sight of his victim. The mutilated body of Lizzie Parks makes a claim on Danny, on Barker and on her readers as this novel probes the relation between Danny and Tom for the "only possible good outcome" of an irreparable act. --Vicky Lebeau --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"It's her canny feel for the psyche's ambiguous meanderings, more than plot twists, that generates most of the thrills . . . This author creates an atmosphere of menace worthy of a Joyce Carol Oates."―Dan Cryer, "Newsday" "Barker soars to new heights with this harrowing, contemporary study of fate tainted by the stench of evil."―Robert Allen Papinchak, "USA Today" "Barker creates a sense of menace worth of Ian McEwan . . . "Border Crossing" is replete with sharp, expressive exchanges, hard poetry, and as many enigmas as implacable truths."―Kerry Field, "The Atlantic Monthly" "Barker writes with compelling urgency―"Border Crossing" is to be read in one sitting."―Joan Mellen, "The Baltimore Sun" "Exhilerating moral exploration, and prose as naked and jolting as an unwrapped live wire."―Richard Eder, "The New York Times Book Review" "Pat barker understands the dynamics of psychic and shutdown as well as any writer living . . . In "Bo

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 27 Jun. 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the only one of Pat Barker's modern day books that I've really loved - not quite as much as the regeneration trilogy, but almost. One of her great talents is to draw characters who are wholly sympathetic without being wholly, or perhaps even slightly, admirable. Barker manipulates the reader's opinion of Danny, the child-murderer, cleverly, so that he is experienced as distressed and suicidal adult, abused child, cold and manipulative teenager. We experience Danny in the same way many of the book's characters do; knowing that he is an expert at drawing people in and winning their sympathy, yet being drawn in anyway. This keeps you off-balance, at one moment frightened for Danny and at the next frightened of him. The narrative has a wonderful simplicity and lightness of touch, so that the potentially lurid subject matter comes across as low-key and quietly disturbing. I read it in a couple of hours, and have been rereading parts of it ever since. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
If you’ve ever watched The Simpsons and seen a joke unfold in front of you that is so brilliant in its both its conception and delivery, but not actually laughed out loud, instead stared at the TV and appreciated the technical perfection, your mind saying "That is the funniest thing I have ever seen", then I think you will understand a little the emotional response of reading Pat Barker’s extraordinary 'Border Crossing'.
Which is not to say Barker’s novel is a comedy. Far from it. It is a tight, discomforting, sometimes thrilling novel that investigates an important idea that is so often discussed in newspapers, though rarely with the degree of cool intelligence that Barker shows here. If you like Ian McKewan, I imagine you will also like Barker. She writes concisely, never wasting an idea, a thought, a plot shift, or a nuance in the telling of this inquisitively psychological novel.
Danny is a young man who was convicted of murder as a child. He is now free, living under an different name, trying to find a way to exist in a world that would see him lynched, if the images in newspapers like the 'Mail' told the full story. Tom Seymour is the psychologist who interviewed Danny at the time of the murder and crucially gave the evidence that saw him convicted under the disturbing categorisation of having full cognisance of what he was doing. Though not a teenager, Danny was well aware that killing was wrong, Seymour posits, and this is something that Danny has had to come to terms with while locked away.
The story begins with Seymour walking by a river in the winter and spotting a young man fall in. This young man, who he dives in to rescue, turns out to be Danny, and the meeting precipitates a renewal of their relationship.
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Format: Paperback
To what extent can a child can be held responsible for their actions? Can they change? Do they deserve a second chance?

Tom, a psychologist encounters Danny, who was his patient as a child and at whose trial he gave evidence. Although Danny has served his time, he is haunted by the past and by a crime he still hasn't come to terms with committing.
Tom has his own problems, and Danny fills a void as his marriage comes to an end. However whilst wanting to help, Tom's concerned that Danny may be manipulating him as he may have manipulated others in his life.

The events that make Danny feel hunted were conveyed well, showing how almost impossible it is to make a new start in our society. I also felt Tom's empathy with Danny was very realistic and honest. He recalls an event from his own childhood that he feels would have ended differently if it weren't for the intervention of an adult. Sometimes we're quick to condemn and forget what being a child was like, how sometimes children can get into situations they don't know how to get out of.

Rather than giving us all the answers in neat little story we're encouraged to come to our own conclusions which made for a more interesting read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When child psychologist Tom Seymour pulls a would-be suicide from a river, he recognises the young man as Danny Miller, the child whom Tom's assessment had helped imprison for the brutal murder of an old woman thirteen years ago. Now out of prison and supposedly starting a new life, Danny has hunted Tom down in the hope that he might be able to help him understand the killing. With his own life troubled and his marriage collapsing, Tom succumbs to the temptation to travel into Danny's past.
The problem is that what he finds there is not particularly riveting, and certainly not unusual enough to account for an act which society regards with horror as completely beyond the boundaries of “normality”. Unlike, say, Peter Shaffer’s “Equus”, when Danny finally remembers the murder there is little depth, no sense of climax, no sense of a mystery unravelled, not even much horror. The novel sets up the idea of a journey into the mind of an outcast, the child who kills, but never lives up to what it promises.
The second problem is the characterisation. Danny Miller is a pale reworking of Billy Prior, Barker’s brilliant creation in “Regeneration”, complete with Prior’s unpleasant father, manipulative charm and “wintry smile”, but nowhere near as interesting (especially once you recognise him as Prior). Tom isn’t even a shadow of “Regeneration”’s Dr Rivers, and there is even less substance to the supporting cast, his wife, his colleagues, and the people whose lives Danny has passed through.
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