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Regeneration by Pat Barker
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Regeneration (1991)

by Pat Barker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Regeneration Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,629952,071 (4.04)598
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    Rivers: As Seen in Regeneration by Richard Slobodin (pellethepoet)
    pellethepoet: Brief biography of Dr. Rivers, the psychiatrist who treated Siegfried Sassoon at Craiglockhart War Hospital
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» See also 598 mentions

English (88)  Dutch (4)  German (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (95)
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
Certainly not your typical book about war, the narrative centers around a British officer in World War I who declares his opposition to the war and is subjected to psychological treatment to bring his thinking back to "normal". This really should be a companion piece to Joseph Heller's Catch-22, even if written in a much more "serious" manner. While fictional, the story is very much based on true events and actual characters. Despite that solid foundation, I found the writing too often out of focus and less than clear as to the writer's intent. This book is the first of a highly regarded trilogy, the later books getting stronger praise, so I'm unclear at this point if this is really the lesser of the three books, and should continue with the series, or if writer's style will always be a step behind the power of her subject. Ultimately, it's a thought-provoking read, if not always satisfying. ( )
  larryerick | Aug 23, 2018 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (Mar 2009):
- I liked this book overall. Three general issues prevented full enjoyment: One, this is a very British story and I was stalled by the verbiage in the dialogue numerous times. Two, character "background" is extremely lacking, so that I actually felt I was thrust into an ongoing story (in fact I couldn't help feeling this was the middle, not the start, of a trilogy). Third, other than River's rare use of the phrase, the soldiers' suffering of "shell-shock" doesn't seem very clear (maybe that was intended).
- On the good side, the story kept a steady pace, the writing was concise and Rivers is a well-developed focal point in the story. I don't think I'll continue through the trilogy though. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Apr 14, 2018 |
Dr. Rivers heals soldiers from the psychological trauma they suffered on the war fields, some of which can be as horrific as holding an eyeball in their hands. But he himself needs healing and eventually a break from the war hospital. Pat Barker writes in the crisp British way but her writing belies a complicacy of feelings (on the part of the soldiers) that are not easy to unravel. ( )
  siok | Mar 10, 2018 |
Stunning, stark, unsettling. We meet in this book a number of people whose lives are fundamentally changed by the events of WWI. This tales are full of despair and hope, and on occasion happiness and possibility. There are people hollowed out by their experience, and many whose lives have gone further and rank in society increased in ways they could not have in England before the war. sometimes these were the same people. Barker helps us to understand so much about a time, but also about the impact of war on our soldiers today and guides us to empathize with people just trying to live right and often failing. I can't wait to start the second book. ( )
  Narshkite | Jan 10, 2018 |
This is the first of the author's trilogy of historical novels set in the First World War, all of which won various accolades (the final part, The Ghost Road, won the Booker Prize in 1995). This is a re-read, eleven years after my original reading of the book. I appreciated it more this time round, though it isn't what one would call enjoyable, concerning as it does the mental breakdown of soldiers returned from the trenches, focusing mainly on Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, but also featuring the suffering of (presumably) fictional characters. The novel is set in a real life mental hospital, Craiglockhart near Edinburgh, where these suffering souls are under the care of Dr Rivers, another real historical personage. There are some shocking scenes (especially the electric shock therapy session near the end, administered by another real life doctor of the time, Lewis Yealland); but also some scenes of redemption as some soldiers are cured (in many cases, though, that means cured to be sent back to the trenches). Rivers comes to the conclusion that what leads to the men's breakdown is not so much individual horrific experiences, but rather the passivity of life stuck in the trenches; their "Great Adventure – the real life equivalent of all the adventure stories they’d devoured as boys – consisted of crouching in a dugout, waiting to be killed". The "prolonged strain, immobility and helplessness .... did the damage, and not the sudden shocks or bizarre horrors that the patients themselves were inclined to point to as the explanation for their condition". An interesting read, and I will read the sequels, though feel no immediate rush to do so. ( )
  john257hopper | Nov 12, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barker, Patprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dijk, Edith vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kim, LuciaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nevinson, CRWCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For David, and in loving memory of

Dr John Hawkings (1922 - 1987)
First words
I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.
Quotations
Anna didn't believe in love. She thought when a man loved a woman it was as the fox loves the hare, and when a woman loved a man it was as a tapeworm loves the gut.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
From the book cover:
Pat Barker's Regeneration is the opening salvo in her trilogy of novels about the young men who fought in the First World War, the third of which--The Ghost Road--won the 1995 Booker Prize. Based on the real life meeting between the poet and anti-war protestor Siegfried Sassoon and army psychologist W. H. R. Rivers in 1917, Regeneration is a vivid evocation of the agony of the Front as well as a powerful anthem for doomed youth.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0452270073, Paperback)

Regeneration, one in Pat Barker's series of novels confronting the psychological effects of World War I, focuses on treatment methods during the war and the story of a decorated English officer sent to a military hospital after publicly declaring he will no longer fight. Yet the novel is much more. Written in sparse prose that is shockingly clear -- the descriptions of electronic treatments are particularly harrowing -- it combines real-life characters and events with fictional ones in a work that examines the insanity of war like no other. Barker also weaves in issues of class and politics in this compactly powerful book. Other books in the series include The Eye in the Door and the Booker Award winner The Ghost Road.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:14 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Set in a British military hospital during WWI, this novel blends fact and fiction, drawing its two protagonists from the pages of history. The author of Union Street (made into the film Stanley and Iris) portrays overwhelmed men who try to come to terms with their outrage of a futile war.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141030933, 0141045523

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