- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 9 hours and 56 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Penguin Books Limited
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 31 July 2014
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00LVMPT66
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Toby's Room Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
There are some surprising revelations in this story which I have no wish to spoil for prospective readers, so I shall be careful here - to help her piece together Toby's last days and hours, Elinor enlists the help of Paul Tarrant and also their friend, Kit Neville, who has been tragically and severely facially disfigured at the front and is being treated at Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup.Read more ›
Then the story moves forward to 1917, with Britain at war, and the men away on the battlefields in France. Toby uses his medical experience to help the wounded there. News comes through to the Brooke family that Toby is missing.
Elinor is anxious to seek out the truth about her brother Toby's death during the war; 'She knew so little. What did 'Missing, Believed Killed' actually mean?' Despite writing several times to Kit in the hope of discovering more information as to how exactly Toby died, she receives no reply.
Kit Neville then returns from France. Through him the author conveys how the confusing memories and images of war can haunt the mind: 'All sorts of shadowy figures crossed the suburbs of Neville's mind, or crept out of the darkness and pressed in on him.'
Neville's face has been destroyed in the war, and Pat Barker writes with frank realism about the disfigured appearances of the men being treated for facial injuries sustained in battle. She describes what is necessary for us to comprehend the suffering of these men, and the work and techniques of Harold Gillies, the pioneering plastic surgeon at Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup, and she depicts the difficulty and pain endured by Neville trying to somehow come to terms with himself as he is now.Read more ›
This novel does get across the awful limbo in which the relatives of those soldiers missing presumed dead are trapped; sometimes waiting forever for closure.
My problem with Toby's Room is I found it really difficult to care about the characters with the possible exception of Kit Neville, who for me is far and away the most interesting and human person in the book.
It was interesting to read of the real-life character Professor Tonks, a noted surgeon and artist, who taught at the Slade School at the time. Tonks played his part in the reconstructive surgery carried out by doctors on soldiers returning from the front with hugely disfiguring facial wounds. He painted portraits of the victims' facial injuries and these portraits were, unsurprisingly, shocking. Pat Barker has interweaved real-life characters throughout other novels and it is something she does very well.
I would encourage others to read this book as it has a lot to offer but, failing to evoke in the reader, any empathy towards most of the main characters is, in my opinion, where Pat Barker falls short. Still I did like the bitter curmudgeon Kit Neville!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a beautifully written book which had me in tears towards the end. The language is skillful and imaginative, conjuring up the life led by not only the soldiers at the front... Read morePublished 4 days ago by bookworm
Very descriptive, very good novel. Enjoyed reading it and the ending was very good.Published 3 months ago by Lynne Mcleod
Although Toby’s Room may be read as a “stand-alone” novel, it is part of a trilogy best read in order, starting with “Life Class” which is based on real-life young artists... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Antenna
I loved Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy, but this other trilogy is as great as that (Life Class, Toby's Room and Noonday). Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
As the second book of a trilogy, this can be read also as a standalone novel. The Toby of the title is the brother art student Elinor Brooke, whose story is told in ‘Life Class’. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Sandradan1
This is a relationship-led exploration of WW1 and the years between 1912-17. It's absorbing precisely because the characters here refuse to comply with the fictional stereotypes of... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Roman Clodia
I came to this book after having recently seen a number of the portraits of WWI combatants with very badly disfigured faces. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dr R