The Ghost Road (Regeneration Trilogy)
English writer Pat Barker has written three novels in the nineties about World War One: Regeneration (part one of the Regeneration Trilogy) (1993, about a poet who is treated in England for shellshock from his experiences in the trenches); The Eye in the Door (1994, in which an officer develops a split personality from his experiences at the front); And The Ghost Road (1995, the impressive closing of the triptych). In a clear narrative style, the writer of the trilogy paints a vivid picture of the horrors of this man-to-man war and the traumatic consequences for those who survived.
It is 1917. In a public statement, Siegfried Sassoon, poet and officer in the British army, takes a stand against the futility of the war. His provocative charge, addressed to the politicians responsible for the slaughter at the front, does not get him court marshaled. Instead, Sassoon is submitted in the military hospital Craiglockhart, where a conflict arises between him and Dr. Rivers.
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.
Winner of the 1995 Booker Prize