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The final book in the Regeneration Trilogy, and winner of theBooker Prize The Ghost Road is the culminating masterpiece of Pat Barker s towering World War I fiction trilogy The time of the novel is the closing months of the most senselessly savage of modern conflicts 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 Combining poetic intensity with gritty realism, blending biting humor with tragic drama, moving toward a denouement as inevitable as it is devastating, The Ghost Road both encapsulates history and transcends it It is a modern masterpiece In the third book of the trilogy, we leave the rear to move to the heart of the battle, in the last days before the end of the war, when seemed that everything was over The author describes life in the trenches, using raw language for the last lethal battles and cynicism through her heroes for the quietest moments that give the opportunity to challenge what they are doing.At the same time, something very interesting, psychiatrist Rivers remembers his journey to the South Pacific where he wa In the third book of the trilogy, we leave the rear to move to the heart of the battle, in the last days before the end of the war, when seemed that everything was over The author describes life in the trenches, using raw language for the last lethal battles and cynicism through her heroes for the quietest moments that give the opportunity to challenge what they are doing.At the same time, something very interesting, psychiatrist Rivers remembers his journey to the South Pacific where he was hosted by a tribe of headhunters, and so he was able to study their culture that seems to revolve around death This is what gives a lot of food for thought Despite our evolution, are we modern humans still in the same class as the most primitive tribes Is war a result of a culture of death worship similar to the most aggressive tribes This parallelization is very interesting as in the philosophy of the most fanatical supporters of the war there was this very idea, that war is something invigorating for a society, that the continuous presence of death, either in the form of losses or by the form of extermination of the enemy keeps people alert and makes them energetic An idea that continued to exist and led to the creation of fascism and then to the Second World War.Back to the hospital, doctors and nurses have realized that the war is not going to end, as the Spanish flu is making its appearance and is already beginning to cause great losses and they are called to treat these patients along with the injured of the battles So the book ends and perhaps the author answers to what I mentioned above about death Together comes the end of this wonderful trilogy which in the simplest way talks about the consequences of the war and makes very important questions about it, making these three books a very important reading for the First World War ,, Rivers , What becomes of us when all we know is death and killing, and that is taken away If that is the question being asked, the answer is not forthcoming The book ends just before the war does, so we never get to see how any surviving characters would reintegrate into civilian life From their worries, their neuroses, and what the experiences of warfare have done to them, the answer appears to be not well If the experiences of Rivers among the headhunters are instructive, particularly not well.Not What becomes of us when all we know is death and killing, and that is taken away If that is the question being asked, the answer is not forthcoming The book ends just before the war does, so we never get to see how any surviving characters would reintegrate into civilian life From their worries, their neuroses, and what the experiences of warfare have done to them, the answer appears to be not well If the experiences of Rivers among the headhunters are instructive, particularly not well.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook How do you review a book that you found average A book that you suspect will disappear from your memory as soon as you pick up something else to read My personality goes quite well both with rants about horrid books Thank you, Coelho, writing a review on The Alchemist was a blast and with gushing about books that made me cry and laugh and shiver yes, Of Human Bondage is still there with me in its entirety, long after closing the book with a sigh of sadness that the 700 page journey is ove How do you review a book that you found average A book that you suspect will disappear from your memory as soon as you pick up something else to read My personality goes quite well both with rants about horrid books Thank you, Coelho, writing a review on The Alchemist was a blast and with gushing about books that made me cry and laugh and shiver yes, Of Human Bondage is still there with me in its entirety, long after closing the book with a sigh of sadness that the 700 page journey is over.But a historical novel on World War I, with fictional characters I can t really relate to Well, I have to admit that I made a mistake I chose it for winning the Booker Prize and it happened to fall into my hands , and I was not aware it was the third part in a trilogy It can certainly be read as a standalone, but I might have a different opinion if I had read the other two in the series as well.My problem with it is on a different level, though I love history, and I love literary fiction and poetry I completely understand why a contemporary author would embark on the endeavour to WRITE historical fiction, to lose herself in historical documents, primary sources, objects, witness reports, to reconstruct an era through thorough research I understand Pat Barker But this kind of novel always leaves me with the feeling that it must berewarding to write it than to read it For I am not very interested in Pat Barker s reconstructions and relationships with historical characters I want to go on that journey first hand myself, not explore it in the language of today, through the lense of another history teacher I want to reread The Poems Of Wilfred Owen, to get to know Sassoon better, or add another Remarque experience to my favourite All Quiet on the Western Front, or even reread sections of the splendid brick of Churchill s The World Crisis, 1911 1918 I want to read all the fiction that was produced back then, adding nuance and understanding through the voices of that time, as I have so often done before, Of Human Bondage and The Voyage Out forever on my best of the best shelf ever since, joining hands with Hemingway s and other brilliant authors war experiences So it is maybe my own fault that I find this rather uninspiring It is a solid novel, for sure But to paraphrase the most significant quote in the story, it is already a ghost in the making in my literary world Last of an excellent trilogy and it does help to have read the previous two books as many of the characters run through them all and there are references back You could read it as a standalone, but a good deal would be lost, especially the nuance We reconnect with characters from the previous books There is very little of Sassoon and Owen is present in a small way Prior and Rivers take centre stage The narrative alternates between the two as they experience the last days of the war We also Last of an excellent trilogy and it does help to have read the previous two books as many of the characters run through them all and there are references back You could read it as a standalone, but a good deal would be lost, especially the nuance We reconnect with characters from the previous books There is very little of Sassoon and Owen is present in a small way Prior and Rivers take centre stage The narrative alternates between the two as they experience the last days of the war We also go in flashback to the time Rivers spent in Melanesia with a tribe of head hunters.Prior is recovering and makes a deliberate decision to return to France, reflecting the same decisions made by Owen and Sassoon The sex death circle works its way through in Prior s liaisons before and after he returns to France Rivers describes observing a tribe in Melanesia who had been banned from headhunting and other warlike activities Their whole reason for existence had disappeared and as their culture was based on the rituals related to the gaining of heads the tribe was in decline and lethargy had set in The contrasts with war in the west are neatly and obviously drawn We see Prior, despite his deprived working class childhood, developing his own voice and starting a diary We also see over the trilogy what the war did for women, allowing them independence previously not possible and the chance of earning a wage One character even says that August 4th 1914, when the war started was for her the day Peace broke out the only little bit of peace I ve ever had I remember when this book came out one reviewer s idea of praise was to say that it could have been written by a man Barker had previously written about strong working class women here she focuses on men, but also on the effects of war for women and the adjustments society had to make as it coped with shellshock and the thousands of men it affected She is reflecting some of her own working class northern background and she has said herself that she decided to write about the war following some patronising reviews of her early novels about women What a response And, of course these novels are just as feminist and class centred as her earlier ones just reframed The last chapter of the novel again emphasises the sheer futility of it all focussing on some of the last actions of the war, when everyone knew it was over and peace was days away The troops, including Prior and Owen are sent over the top for the last time