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The Regeneration Trilogy – Pat Barker

 
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Posted May 9, 2016 by

The Regeneration Trilogy – Pat Barker – 1966

Regeneration

The Eye in the Door

The Ghost Road

regeneration - 3 books

Posted by guillermo maynez on 2/4/2014, 11:49:55

I just finished reading the three books that compose this trilogy by Pat Barker: “Regeneration”, “The Eye in the Door”, and “The Ghost Road”. I enjoyed it very much, even though graphic depictions of homosexual acts are not my cup of tea. That detail aside, the books are very bold in analyzing the devastating effects of war on the psyche of many men. Dr. Rivers is a fascinating real-life character, and I think I will look up his biography by Robert Slobodin. Appearances by Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen also give a panorama of the way in which these great poets suffered the war. In the last volume, Dr. Rivers’s memories of his trip to Melanesia brilliantly mix with the current war horrors to give us profound insights into the nature of civilization and human nature.

Has any of you read these books?

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Posted by Steven on 21/4/2014, 13:18:20, in reply to “Re: “Regeneration” Trilogy”

I read the trilogy several years ago and enjoyed it very much, both for the captivating story and the insight into the evolving treatment of mental illness. One thing I especially liked was how each book in the trilogy had a different perspective and flavor, so you weren’t just getting more of the same.

Literature about World War I is one of my reading themes for this year. So far I’ve read two books, both autobiographical novels by former French infantrymen.

Under Fire by Henri Barbusse was actually published during the war, which is surprising because of its strong anti-war theme. Barbusse writes as more of an observer than an actor. He portrays in full the horrors of war, but makes the point that it’s a war worth fighting only because it must become the war to end all wars. He foresaw major social changes including a world government emerging from it.

Fear: A Novel of World War I by Gabriel Chevallier wasn’t published until 1930, and was almost immediately suppressed because, with war again looming, it was judged bad for morale. The author served on the front lines for three years, during which he said his chief occupation was simply being afraid. This admission is quite rare in such books, but he gives ample illustration of why any rational person would have been terrified. It was one of the most powerful, gruesome and explicit anti-war books I have ever read. It is being published by New York Review of Books next month; the copy I read was an advance review copy.

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