by Pat Barker

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Featured image for Regeneration (Regeneration, #1)

I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this - all I knew of it was that it was highly thought of and was about the First World War. I was kind of expecting trenches and bloodshed and horrifics and wasn’t at all sure that was what I felt like reading. Actually it’s set in a psychiatric hospital in 1917 so it’s a more contemplative look at the war than I expected.

The character list featured numerous names I recognised: Sigfried Sasson, Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves - so I wasn’t quite sure how much of what I was reading was fictional and also whether I ought to recognise the others too. There is an afternote where the author dealt with the issue of fiction and fact colliding - but I’ve already forgotten where the line was, I don’t think it mattered really. I think the psychiatrist, Rivers, was a real man too.

Anyway, having spent several weeks wondering if it was me or the book to blame for my slow reading pace I devoured this one in not much over 24 hours. It’s always the book. And this was a good one. I hope to read the other two volumes of the trilogy before it’s due back at the library.