Set in the closing months of World War I, this towering novel combines poetic intenstiy with gritty realism as it brings Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy to its stunning conclusion.
In France, millions of men engaged in brutal trench warfare are all “ghosts in the making.” In England, psychologist William Rivers, with severe pangs of conscience, treats the mental casualties of the war to make them whole enough to fight again. One of these, Billy Prior, risen to the officer class from the working class, both courageous and sardonic, decides to return to France with his fellow officer, poet Wilfred Owen, to fight a war he no longer believes in. Meanwhile, Rivers, enfevered by influenza returns in memory to his experience studying a South Pacific tribe whose ethos amounted to a culture of death. Across the gulf between his society and theirs, Rivers begins to form connections that cast new light on his—and our—understanding of war.
Winner of the 1995 Booker Prize
About the Author
Pat Barker has earned a place in the first rank of contemporary British writers with such novels as Union Street, Regeneration (shortlisted for Britain's prestigious Booker Prize and chosen by the New York Times as one of the four best novels of 1992), The Eye in the Door (winner of the 1993 Guardian fiction prize), The Ghost Road (winner of the 1995 Booker Prize), and Noonday. Barker lives in Durham, England.
Praise for The Ghost Road
“Complex and ambitious...the masterwork to date of a singular and ever-evolving novelist who has consistently made up her own rules.”—The New York Times
“A literary achievement...Remarkable...A fine, singularly intelligent and deeply moving novel.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Persuasive and original...Pat Barker presents the First World War as the test tube of the human spirit.”—The New Yorker
“Ambitious...convincing...challenging.”—The Wall Street Journal
“The novelist Milan Kundera says that fiction was invented to discover truth. A book like The Ghost Road is what he must have had in mind. Barker writes brilliantly—wisely.”—The Washington Post
“A triumph of the imagination at once poetic and practical...Barker has succeeded in ways that define the novelist’s art: by close observation as well as by deployment of a broad and painfully compassionate vision, all rendered in prose whose very simplicity speaks volumes...Deeply eloquent.”—Publishers Weekly