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J. Ruffell

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The Ghost Road (Regeneration)
The Ghost Road (Regeneration)
by Pat Barker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ghost Road, 7 Jan. 2009
This novel proves to be an illuminating trilogy based on the First World War and on real people and events. Barker succeeds in telling a harrowing and horrifying story through the eyes of Prior, a soldier in the war and through the eyes of Rivers, an army psychiatrist. Prior's story is based equally on his past and the present, where we see him admitted to a psychiatric hospital as a result of his experiences yet ultimately committing himself to lead others much like himself `over the top' to face enemy fire. Additionally, we follow the life of Rivers who devotes his life to treating injured and psychotic soldiers, unveiling their experiences and nightmares in order to restore them back to sanity. Furthermore, a fair majority of Rivers' story is dedicated to his past experiences of staying on an island in Africa where he witnessed `foreign' rituals and procedures and made many strange encounters.

The way in which the events in the story follow on from one another can be confusing as you have to be able to distinguish stories from the past and present and also between the four different stories that are being depicted. If you are familiar with the different characters and the roles in which they play throughout, this novel is a much easier read.

Nevertheless, Barker dares to write about the truth of war, which at times horrifies and shocks. Her novel captures our sympathy by the use of vivid description and she does not hold back on her exploration of the experiences of the men who served in the war. In all, Barkers novel is an excellent, eye-opening addition to that of other war literature and I would recommend the novel to all who wish to read an original and unforgettable outlook on the war.

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