A beautifully written novel, the first in Barker's "Regeneration Trilogy" (the third volume won the Booker Prize). Set in a war hosp..Show More »ital in Scotland during World War I, the story revolves around several patients and physicians, including the poet Siegfried Sassoon. After serving honorably, Sassoon wrote an anti-war statement, which he asked an MP to read in session. His friend and fellow officer Robert Graves, knowing that Sassoon would be facing a court martial, claims the statement was due to battle fatigue and has him sent to Craiglockhaven for treatment. Dr. Rivers's task is to get Sassoon to agree to return to the front. Other patients include the young poet Wilfred Owen and Billy Priot, a young man who can't eat after having been blown into the decomposing body of a German soldier. A fascinating look at the social pressure put on young men during the war, as well as the effects of the war on people and relationahips and of the treatment of the psychological scars it caused.
In this volume, the characters introduced in Regeneration move on. Sassoon is sent back to the front; the doctor joins a colleague in London; Billy P..Show More »ryor joins the intelligence force. Most of this novel takes place not on the battelfield but back in the UK. Barker's intention was likely to show the war's effect on the common citizen. I enjoyed this but still think the first book in the series is the best.
Alongside The Guns of August this trilogy is utterly remarkable in its power to convey the humanity and inhumanity that is modern warfare. The brusque..Show More » comparison to the so called primitive head-hunting culture with its ritualized but contained conflicts is especially thought provoking