Hardback : 16 Aug 2012
Read an extract from: Toby's Room
Pat Barker, Booker prize-winning author of the Regeneration trilogy returns to WWI in this dark, compelling novel of human desire, wartime horror and the power of friendship.
Toby and Elinor, brother and sister, friends and confidants, are sharers of a dark secret, carried from the summer of 1912 into the battlefields of France and wartime London in 1917.
When Toby is reported 'Missing, Believed Killed', another secret casts a lengthening shadow over Elinor's world: how exactly did Toby die - and why? Elinor's fellow student Kit Neville was there in the fox-hole when Toby met his fate, but has secrets of his own to keep. Enlisting the help of former lover Paul Tarrant, Elinor determines to uncover the truth. Only then can she finally close the door to Toby's room.
Moving from the Slade School of Art to Queen Mary's Hospital, where surgery and art intersect in the rebuilding of the shattered faces of the wounded, Toby's Room is a riveting drama of identity, damage, intimacy and loss from the author of The Eye in the Door and The Ghost Road. It is Pat Barker's most powerful novel yet.
Praise for Pat Barker:
'A brilliant stylist . . . Barker delves unflinchingly into the enduring mysteries of human motivation' Sunday Telegraph
'Barker is a writer of crispness and clarity and an unflinching seeker of the germ of what it means to be human' The Herald
'Barker is brilliant on the conflicts between art, love and war' Marie Claire
'Barker writes . . . with great tenderness and insight, and a daring to forgo simple resolutions' Independent on Sunday
Pat Barker was born in 1943. Her books include the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy, comprising Regeneration, which was made into a film of the same name, The Eye in the Door, which won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and The Ghost Road, which won the Booker Prize. She is also the author of the more recent novels Another World, Border Crossing, Double Vision and Life Class. She lives in Durham.
Pat Barker - Toby's Room">
Pat Barker introduces her new book Toby's Room
Reviews» Submit a review
'A brilliant stylist . . . Barker delves unflinchingly into the enduring mysteries of human motivation'
— Sunday Telegraph
'Barker is a writer of crispness and clarity and an unflinching seeker of the germ of what it means to be human'
— The Herald
'Barker is brilliant on the conflicts between art, love and war'
— Marie Claire
'Barker writes . . . with great tenderness and insight, and a daring to forgo simple resolutions'
— Independent on Sunday
'Once again Barker skilfully moves between past and present, seamlessly weaving fact and fiction into a gripping narrative'
— Sunday Telegraph
'Everyone in Toby's Room is on the run from their real selves. Some of her characters wear real masks - hiding their injuries behind painted sheets of tin. Others seek to present carefully sculpted views of themselves to the world. All, though, are in a constant state of flux, unsure of their personalities, emotions and sexuality. This gives the book an unsettling air - and Barker, as she's often proved before, does disquiet unusually well. Even in the most apparently innocuous scene, there's invariably some little worm twisting disturbingly away'
— Evening Standard
'Heart-rendering return to the Great War . . . I'd forgotten what a superb stylist she is, at once forensically observant and imaginatively sublime... On every level, Toby's Room anatomises a world where extreme emotion shatters the boundaries of identity, behaviour, gender. Through the mask of Apollo bursts an omnipresent Dionysus'
'Crisp, vivid prose'
'Barker, rightly, has never bothered with period detail. Her characters feel modern because their views were modern at the time. She does not try and recapture the past but instead recasts it in their present'
— Financial Times
'Barker is a natural storyteller and the book pulls you in from the opening paragraphs. Her sensitive, unsensational, remarkably detailed handing of the hospital scenes is hugely impressive, as is her mastery of suspense, with the reader in the closing chapters torn between wanting to linger over the sheer pleasure of the writing and the desire to rush towards the end to discover how it all pans out'
— Daily Mail
'A gripping and moving exploration of the lasting effects of war'
— Woman & Home
'A fascinating drama about wartime identities'
'Strong, truthful and beautifully controlled... Magnificent'
— Saga Magazine
'A moving story of love and loss, surgery and art'
— Marie Claire
'In among the period tea parties and life-drawing lessons at the Slade are vivid, hideous descriptions of wounded men and shattered lives, as well as the strange mix of patriotic pride and repulsion that war evokes'
Size : 153 x 234mm
Pages : 272
Published : 16 Aug 2012
Publisher : Hamish Hamilton
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