Friday, 15 March 2013

Regeneration by Pat Barker

“I looked back and the ground was covered with wounded. Lying on top of each other, writhing. Like fish in a pond that’s drying out."

War is a horrid, mentally challenging event from all accounts and participation can alter a person immeasurably. It makes sense that actively disregarding some of  the most normal social mores is destined to mess with your head. We are brought up from a young age not to harm or kill and then soldiers are sent to war to do just that , yes, war is a strange beast of a thing. One thing it is not, is my favourite subject to read about.

Stuck in a broken down car for 3 hours, I found my copy of this book nestled within my bag and attempted to make some progress – in between watching the battery bars on my phone hopelessly dwindle. Ergo, I was a little distracted!
Despite those extenuating circumstances, I could appreciate that this is an interestingly written and harrowing novel. My reticence to endorse it wholeheartedly stems not only from the circumstances under which I read it. Such a bleak, miserable topic made my skin crawl. Perhaps that is the ultimate testament to the author, yet it leaves me cold.

The first in a trilogy of novels set in world war one, Regeneration deals with shell shock and the fall out for soldiers of active combat. Barker employs actual historical figures within her work which lends a sort of gravitas.  Weirdly, I have little to say on this book, I finished it the way you eat something you don’t  like when you have to be polite.  3 out of 5 – not in the right frame of mind for this, thank goodness the tow truck driver rescued me.

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