A phenomenal accomplishment, Barker’s historical novel feels utterly confident in its time and place: a war hospital in Scotland during WWI where soldiers with shellshock (now known as PTSD) are sent to recover. Away from the battlefields, these men carry with them the guilt and shame for their psychological injuries, which, invisible, brand them as cowards and mentally unfit. One man, however, war hero and poet Siegfried Sassoon, is here of his own volition, sent to be cured of his pacifism. Assigned to psychiatrist W.H.R. Rivers, Sassoon begins a battle of wills as each man questions if such wanton destruction of life is ever warranted. Interspliced through this narrative are Rivers’s other patients, impeccably realized characters who will each claim a part of your aching heart. I can’t remember a book that has impressed upon me the tenderness of the human spirit with as much subtlety and care as Barker’s. A perfect novel.
“Calls to mind such early moderns as Hemingway and Fitzgerald...Some of the most powerful antiwar literature in modern English fiction.”—The Boston Globe
The first book of the Regeneration Trilogy—a Booker Prize nominee and one of Entertainment Weekly’s 100 All-Time Greatest Novels.
In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified "mentally unsound" and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon’s “sanity” and sending him back to the trenches. This novel tells what happened as only a novel can. It is a war saga in which not a shot is fired. It is a story of a battle for a man's mind in which only the reader can decide who is the victor, who the vanquished, and who the victim.
One of the most amazing feats of fiction of our time, Regeneration has been hailed by critics across the globe. More than one hundred years since World War I, this book is as timely and relevant as ever.
About the Author
Pat Barker has earned a place in the first rank of contemporary British writers with such novels as Union Street, Regeneration (shortlisted for Britain's prestigious Booker Prize and chosen by the New York Times as one of the four best novels of 1992), The Eye in the Door (winner of the 1993 Guardian fiction prize), The Ghost Road (winner of the 1995 Booker Prize), and Noonday. Pat Barker lives in Durham, England.
Praise for Regeneration
“Dramatic, moving, brilliantly harrowing...a novel thatmakes the madness of war more than a metaphor.”—The New York Times
“Earns...a place on the shelf of WWI literature.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Extremely accomplished and intelligent... Barker is adept at dramatizing moral dilemmas that have no easy answers.”—Entertainment Weekly
“One of the most deserving winners of the prestigious Booker fiction prize in recent years.”—The New York Review of Books
“Pat Barker makes both her fictional and her real characters complex and credible....Best of all, she attends to the moral nuances of a time when it was hard to distinguish the lesser insanities from the greater ones.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“It has been Pat Barker’s accomplishment to enlarge the scope of the contemporary English novel....Regeneration is an inspiring book that balances conscience and thevitality of change against a collapsing world.”—The New Yorker