Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1995 Booker Prize Winner

Full overview coming shortly

The Ghost Road by Pat Barker


Publisher: Viking

Length: 288 pages

About: Psychiatrist's concern for WW1 soldier patients 

Style: 1st & 3rd person

Where: England and France

When: 1918



Publisher’s synopsis:

1918, and Billy Prior is in France once again. A real test case for the ‘shell-shock’ therapies practised at Craiglockhart War Hospital where, with Wilfred Owen, he was a patient. Prior experiences a late-summer idyll, some days of perfect beauty, before the final battles in a war that has destroyed most of his generation. In London, Prior’s psychologist, William Rivers, tends to his new patients, more young men whose lives and minds have been shattered. And remembers the primitive society on Eddystone Island where he studied as an anthropologist before the war.



Rivers wondered whether Sassoon and Harrington had been too much in the forefront of his mind while he was listening to Wansbeck. At best, on such occasions, one became a conduit whereby one man’s hard-won experience of self-healing was made available to another. At worst, one no longer listened attentively enough to the individual voice. There was a real danger, he thought, that in the end the stories would become one story, the voices blend into a single cry of pain.




The carnal wit of Prior's voice marks out The Ghost Road as an important book. With his divided sexual and class loyalties, he seems a very contemporary figure, yet also a fitting monument to the mounds of historical dead. The poet Geoffrey Hill said that how we are disposed - sexually or otherwise - makes no difference. It is another disposal, the casual shovelling away of the blasted bodies, that counts. To have recognised this, and the pity of this, is Pat Barker 's achievement.

The Guardian, Giles Foden 8 November 1995 for full review click here


Not so good:

These last scenes are as tersely lyric and stunned with meaninglessness as the work of the soldier-poets the author has drawn on. She does not choose to relate how the following week, just as church bells were ringing the Armistice, the telegram announcing Owen's death arrived at his parents' door. This did happen -- but it seems too literary a touch, too artistically rounded, too almightily knowing for the stories the war taught us to tell.

The New York Times, Claudia Roth Pierpoint, 31st December 1995 for full review click here



About the author

Pat Barker was born in Yorkshire in May 1943. Her trilogy of novels about the First World War, which began with Regeneration in 1991, was partly inspired by her grandfather’s experiences fighting in the trenches in France. Regeneration was made into a film in 1997 starring Jonathan Pryce and James Wilby. The Eye in the Door (1993), the second novel in the trilogy, won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and The Ghost Road (1995), the final novel in the series, won the Booker Prize for Fiction. Pat Barker was awarded a CBE in 2000. Pat Barker lives in Durham.


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2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

Click here


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