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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Regeneration by Pat Barker 
15th-Sep-2006 11:58 pm
Brief flirtation with serious literature, maybe? I need to refocus. *sighs*

Barker, Pat. Regeneration. 1991. New York: Plume, 1993.
Summary: The Regeneration Trilogy Part I. Neurologist and social anthropologist Dr. Rivers finds himself treating shell-shocked victims of WWI, including the asthmatic Prior and the anti-war, homosexual poet, Siegfried Sassoon.
Comments: While a far more accessible read than novels actually dating from 1917, Barker still manages to cram an almost ridiculous amount of material into less than three-hundred pages. Among the most interesting of the implications of the traumas of war that she addresses either directly or by implication include the way in which war actually feminizes soldiers by A) putting officers into the role of nurturant, and B) inflicting "hysterical" disorders on men that are "traditionally" associated with women. Who would've thought that you could address female issues in a story about men and war? And then, of course, there are the ways in which the "homosexual threat" underlies the masculine homosocial bond. (Although, if you're not paying close attention, you may miss some of those particular implications.) The novel's main liabilities as far as I was concerned involved characters: I had a lot of trouble distinguishing between the many male patients; hardly any of them really came alive in unique ways for me. Also, Prior, one of the three main characters, engaged in any number of conversations and exploits that utterly failed to hold my interest. Other than those two things, though, this is a fascinating series that I definitely plan to continue reading.
Notes: trade paperback, 22nd printing
Rating: 7/10 - A compelling blend of fact and fiction that levels some fascinating critiques of masculinity.

16th-Sep-2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
The filmed version of Regeneration is excellent- and was shot just along the road (or downriver) from where I live. :)
16th-Sep-2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
*checks IMDB* I'm SO not going to be able to get that from my local video rental. Dammit.
17th-Sep-2006 04:21 am (UTC)
I read that for a college class. It was easily the best thing we read in that class, and I later read the rest of the trilogy and other books by Pat Barker as well. I particularly liked her book Border Crossing, which isn't part of the trilogy.
1st-Oct-2006 03:28 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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