From the Booker Prize-winning author of Regeneration and one of our greatest contemporary writers on war comes a reimagining of the most famous conflict in literature - the legendary Trojan War.
When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis's old life is shattered. She is transformed from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the god-like warrior Achilles as a prize of war. And she's not alone. On the same day, and on many others in the course of a long and bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters.
The Trojan War is known as a man's story: a quarrel between men over a woman, stolen from her home and spirited across the sea. But what of the other women in this story, silenced by history? What words did they speak when alone with each other, in the laundry, at the loom, when laying out the dead?
In this magnificent historical novel, Pat Barker charts one woman's journey through the chaos of the most famous war in history, as she struggles to free herself and to become the author of her own story.
Praise for Pat Barker:
'Barker delves unflinchingly into the enduring mysteries of human motivation' Sunday Telegraph
'She is not only a fine chronicler of war but of human nature' Independent
'Barker is a writer of crispness and clarity and an unflinching seeker of the germ of what it means to be human' Herald
'You go to her for plain truths, a driving storyline and a clear eye, steadily facing the history of our world' Guardian
In Noonday, Pat Barker - the Man Booker-winning author of the definitive WWI trilogy, Regeneration - turns for the first time to WWII.
'Afterwards, it was the horses she remembered, galloping towards them out of the orange-streaked darkness, their manes and tails on fire...'
London, the Blitz, autumn 1940. As the bombs fall on the blacked-out city, ambulance driver Elinor Brooke races from bomb sites to hospitals trying to save the lives of injured survivors, working alongside former friend Kit Neville, while her husband Paul works as an air-raid warden.
Once fellow students at the Slade School of Fine Art, before the First World War destroyed the hopes of their generation, they now find themselves caught in another war, this time at home. As the bombing intensifies, the constant risk of death makes all three of them reach out for quick consolation. Old loves and obsessions re-surface until Elinor is brought face to face with an almost impossible choice.
Completing the story of Elinor Brooke, Paul Tarrant and Kit Neville, begun with Life Class and continued with Toby's Room, Noonday is both a stand-alone novel and the climax of a trilogy. Writing about the Second World War for the first time, Pat Barker brings the besieged and haunted city of London into electrifying life in her most powerful novel since the Regeneration trilogy.
'Bold, hard-hitting, unforgettable... a virtuoso rendition of the bombing, as huge swathes of London blaze away with the brightest of bright lights... Barker shows us how the city's finest moment was indubitably also its most terrifying, with luminous and unsparing insight.' Independent on Sunday
'Barker's command of detail and gift for metaphor are as sharp as ever... As a tribute to those who dared and suffered on the home front, Noonday is in the first rank.' Antony Garner, Mail on Sunday
'Narrative jumps colourfully alive, fizzes with energy.' Michele Roberts, Independent
'Tremendously good.' Daily Mail
'Pat Barker's Noonday marked the end of another war trilogy which shows no end to her talent in describing how conflicts rupture the soul.' Arifa Akbar, Independent
Praise for Pat Barker:
'She is not only a fine chronicler of war but of human nature.' Independent
'A brilliant stylist... Barker delves unflinchingly into the enduring mysteries of human motivation.' Sunday Telegraph
'You go to her for plain truths, a driving storyline and a clear eye, steadily facing the history of our world.' The Guardian
Other titles in the trilogy:
Regeneration by Pat Barker is a classic exploration of how the traumas of war brutalised a generation of young - published as a Penguin Essential for the first time.
'I just don't think our war aims - whatever they may be - and we don't know - justify this level of slaughter.'
The poets and soldiers Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen are dispatched to Craiglockhart War Hospital in Scotland in 1917. There, army psychiatrist William Rivers is treating brutalised, shell-shocked men. It is Rivers' job to fix these men and make them ready to fight again. As a witness to the traumas they have endured, can he in all conscience send them back to the horrors of the trenches?
The Regeneration Trilogy is Pat Barker's sweeping masterpiece of British historical fiction.
1917, Scotland. At Craiglockhart War Hospital in Scotland, army psychiatrist William Rivers treats shell-shocked soldiers before sending them back to the front. In his care are poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, and Billy Prior, who is only able to communicate by means of pencil and paper. . .
Regeneration, The Eye in the Door and The Ghost Road follow the stories of these men until the last months of the war. Widely acclaimed and admired, Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy paints with moving detail the far-reaching consequences of a conflict which decimated a generation.
'Harrowing, original, delicate and unforgettable' Independent
'A new vision of what the First World War did to human beings, male and female, soldiers and civilians. Constantly surprising and formally superb' A. S. Byatt, Daily Telegraph
'One of the few real masterpieces of late twentieth-century British fiction' Jonathan Coe
Toby's Room is the second novel in Pat Barker's Life Class Trilogy, returning to the First World War in a dark, compelling examination of human desire, wartime horror and the power of friendship
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 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 - this is Pat Barker's most powerful novel yet.
'Heart-rendering return to the Great War . . . 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' Independent
'Once again Barker skilfully moves between past and present, seamlessly weaving fact and fiction into a gripping narrative' Sunday Telegraph
'A gripping and moving exploration of the lasting effects of war' Woman & Home
'A natural storyteller . . . the reader [will be] 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
Other titles in the trilogy:
Life Class is the first novel in Pat Barker's Life Class Trilogy - a powerful and unforgettable story of art and war
Spring, 1914. The students at the Slade School of Art gather in Henry Tonks's studio for his life-drawing class. But for Paul Tarrant the class is troubling, underscoring his own uncertainty about making a mark on the world. When war breaks out and the army won't take Paul, he enlists in the Belgian Red Cross just as he and fellow student Elinor Brooke admit their feelings for one another. Amidst the devastation in Ypres, Paul comes to see the world anew - but have his experiences changed him completely?
'Triumphant, shattering, inspiring' The Times
'Barker writes as brilliantly as ever . . . with great tenderness and insight she conveys a wartime world turned upside down'Independent on Sunday
'Vigorous, masterly, gripping' Penelope Lively, Independent
'Extraordinarily powerful' Sunday Telegraph
Other titles in the trilogy:
The Eye in the Door is the second novel in Pat Barker's classic Regeneration trilogy.
WINNER OF THE 1993 GUARDIAN FICTION PRIZE.
London, 1918. Billy Prior is working for Intelligence in the Ministry of Munitions. But his private encounters with women and men - pacifists, objectors, homosexuals - conflict with his duties as a soldier, and it is not long before his sense of himself fragments and breaks down. Forced to consult the man who helped him before - army psychiatrist William Rivers - Prior must confront his inability to be the dutiful soldier his superiors wish him to be ...
The Eye in the Door is a heart-rending study of the contradictions of war and of those forced to live through it.
'A new vision of what the First World War did to human beings, male and female, soldiers and civilians' A. S. Byatt, Daily Telegraph
'Every bit as waveringly intense and intelligent as its predecessor' Sunday Times
'Startlingly original . . . spellbinding' Sunday Telegraph
'Gripping, moving, profoundly intelligent . . . bursting with energy and darkly funny' Independent on Sunday
Other titles in the trilogy:
The Ghost Road
The Ghost Road is the final instalment in Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy.
WINNER OF THE 1995 BOOKER PRIZE.
1918, the closing months of the war. Army psychiatrist William Rivers is increasingly concerned for the men who have been in his care - particularly Billy Prior, who is about to return to combat in France with young poet Wilfred Owen. As Rivers tries to make sense of what, if anything, he has done to help these injured men, Prior and Owen await the final battles in a war that has decimated a generation ...
The Ghost Road is the Booker Prize-winning account of the devastating final months of the First World War.
'An extraordinary tour de force. I'm convinced that the trilogy will win recognition as one of the few real masterpieces of late twentieth-century British fiction' Jonathan Coe
'Powerful, deeply moving' Barry Unsworth, Sunday Times
'Harrowing, original, unforgettable' Independent
'A triumph' Sunday Times
Other titles in the trilogy:
The Eye in the Door
Double Vision is Pat Barker's thought-provoking Booker Prize-winning novel of modern warfare.
Provocative, intense and deeply moving, Double Vision is a powerful story of one man's quest to find redemption amidst the horror of twenty-first-century war. Returning to Afghanistan after his photographer friend is killed by a sniper, war reporter Stephen Sharkey seeks release from his nightmares in an England seemingly at peace with itself.
Questioning man's inhumanity to man both abroad and at home, and whether love really can be the great redeemer, Double Vision is a searing novel of conflict in modern times.
'Full of brooding tension. Barker is one of our most significant contemporary novelists' Daily Telegraph
'Barker writes superbly. The reader is drawn on, from page to page' Economist
'Barker has a quite extraordinary ability to combine complexity and clarity and to make both seem parts of the same whole' Sunday Times
'The characters grab hold at the beginning and never loosen their grip. Barker holds us by the sheer beauty of her writing' Financial Times
Border Crossing is Pat Barker's unflinching novel of darkness, evil and society.
When Tom Seymour, a child psychologist, plunges into a river to save a young man from drowning, he unwittingly reopens a chapter from his past he'd hoped to forget. For Tom already knows Danny Miller. When Danny was ten Tom helped imprison him for the killing of an old woman. Now out of prison with a new identity, Danny has some questions - questions he thinks only Tom can answer.
Reluctantly, Tom is drawn back into Danny's world - a place where the border between good and evil, innocence and guilt is blurred and confused. But when Danny's demands on Tom become extreme, Tom wonders whether he has crossed a line of his own - and in crossing it, can he ever go back?
'Brilliantly crafted. Unflinching yet sensitive, this is a dark story expertly told' Daily Mail
'A tremendous piece of writing, sad and terrifying. It keeps you reading, exhausted and blurry-eyed, until 2am' Independent on Sunday
'Resolutely unsensational but disquieting . . . Barker probes not only the mysteries of 'evil' but society's horrified and incoherent response to it' Guardian
'Rich, challenging, surprising, breathtaking' The Times
In Pat Barker's Another World, the First World War casts its shadow down the generations.
At 101 years old, Geordie, a proud Somme veteran, lingers painfully through the days before his death. His grandson Nick is anguished to see this once-resilient man haunted by the ghosts of the trenches and the horror surrounding his brother's death. But in Nick's family home the dark pressures of the past also encroach on the present. As he and his wife Fran try to unite their uneasy family of step- and half-siblings, the discovery of a sinister Victorian drawing reveals the murderous history of their house and casts a violent shadow on their lives...
'Gripping in the best, most exquisite sense of the word - as if something wicked were holding you in its clutches' Mail on Sunday
'Brilliant... without question the best novel I have read this year... once again, World War I extends its dark shadows across Pat Barker's extraordinary writing' Val Hennessy, Daily Mail
'One of the best things she has ever done' Ruth Rendell
'Utterly compelling... she is a novelist who probes deep, revealing what people prefer to keep hidden' Allan Massie, Scotsman
'Demonstrates the extraordinary immediacy and vigour of expression we have come to expect from Barker . . . brilliant touches of observation, an unfailing ear for dialogue, a talent for imagery that is darting and brief but unfailingly apt... this is a novel that doesn't allow you to miss a sentence' Barry Unsworth, The New York Times Book Review
'Intensely feeling... Geordie is a beautifully realised character, tough, humorous, and finally enigmatic' Helen Dunmore, The Times
Creator of the Regeneration Trilogy, Pat Barker is known for her raw, honest portrayals of trauma and survival. She’s published 12 books and was awarded the CBE in 2000.
Pat Barker was born in Yorkshire and began her literary career in her forties, when she took a short writing course taught by Angela Carter. Encouraged by Carter to continue writing and exploring the lives of working class women, she sent her fiction out to publishers. Thirty-five years later, she has published fifteen novels, including her masterful Regeneration Trilogy, been made a CBE for services to literature, and won awards including the Guardian Fiction Prize and the UK's highest literary honour, the Booker Prize. She lives in Durham and her new novel, The Silence of the Girls, will be published by Hamish Hamilton in August 2018.