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Another World (Thorndike Core) Hardcover – Large Print, October, 1999

3.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Regeneration Trilogy (Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road) established Pat Barker as one of the most powerful and versatile novelists writing today. Her eighth novel, Another World, is a powerful and complex tale of family, memory, illness, and war. Haunted by memories of the First World War, Geordie is dying of cancer, while his grandson Nick, haunted by the violence of families past (and present), struggles with his thoroughly modern marriage: angry stepchildren, exhausting toddler, miserably pregnant wife. Wracked by guilt, Geordie relives his brother's death in the trenches and his mother's grieving verdict: "It should have been you." Uncovering the intimate and public reach of Geordie's history, Nick is forced up against the "power of old wounds to leak into the present" and the paradoxical fragility--or pliancy--of personal memory. Weaving into her fictional worlds some of the most disturbing images of contemporary Britain--including that of "an older boy taking a toddler by the hand while his companion strides ahead, eager for the atrocity to come"--Barker draws her themes together into a remarkable, sometimes ruthless, study of family life and death. --Vicky Lebeau, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The author of the award-winning Regeneration trilogy has changed publishers and time frames for her newest book, but the result is as spellbinding as ever: thoughtful, acutely observed and profoundly moving. Geordie, a WWI veteran, is over 100, but is hanging on to life with the same stubbornness and iconoclasm that have seen him through the entire 20th century. His grandson, Nick, living in grim, contemporary Newcastle-on-Tyne, is struggling with his own life as he monitors Geordie's last days. Nick's teenage daughter from a previous marriage, Miranda, has come to stay; his new wife, Fran, with her own kid, Gareth, a computer games freak, has two-year-old Jasper to contend with and another baby on the way. Now it seems that their new house may be haunted by the kind of malign domestic spirit at large among Nick's little family. Geordie, too, has his own ghostsAa hideous war memory, long buried, that must be exorcised before he can die in peace. Barker mixes brilliantly observed contemporary realism (the strains of family life with children of different ages have seldom been so powerfully rendered) and mystical overtones with dazzling skill. The book has the grip of a superior thriller while introducing, with no sense of strain, a sense of sorrowful mortality that lingers long after the last page. Geordie is a masterly creation, one of the most fully realized characters in contemporary fiction. (May) FYI: A film of Regeneration, starring Jonathan Pryce, was recently released in the U.S.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Thorndike Core
  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: G. K. Hall & Company; Large Print edition (October 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0783887507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0783887500
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,675,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. F Malysiak on July 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a big fan of Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy, I couldn't wait to finally sit down and read her latest. I was disappointed. Granted, this is a very different sort of book from the previous three - set in contemporary time, dealing with more contemporary (though certainly universal) issues. It just didn't resonate with me. The central story -- one man dealing with his grandfather's illness and the ghosts that haunt his grandfather's past -- is quite compelling,and their final scenes together are very poignant. But what do we make of the history of the Fanshawe family ... and the rather alarming painting that is discovered while the current residents of the Fanshawe house are stripping paint in the living room? It seems the Fanshawe's are supposed to parallel the lives of the novel's central protagonists. But then the issue is dropped and doesn't pop up again until the novel's final page.
Barker is a master of nuance and of getting into the heads of her characters and making them real to her readers. On this level, she does not disappoint. But the book as a whole is a rather minor affair and doesn't pack much of an impact.
Certainly not bad, but not great either.
I look forward to her next...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Violence crosses time and space to trouble the lives of both a centenarian and his pre-teen great grandson. The focus of the story is the dying of Geordie, who fought in the First War and now, having lived long beyond his time, is slowly dying. Other generations and other days are woven through the novel, reminding the reader of the common thread of humanity that runs through all time. I particularly commend Barker for her description of Geordie's dying and moments of actual death . . . she has obviously been there with more than one dying person. The portrayal was both respectful and, from my experience, accurate. I'm working my way through Barker's entire opus, and this is a worthwhile contribution to her fine reputation.
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By A Customer on June 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those novels that is as flawed as it is beautiful - a real torment for a reader - you can't stop thinking about it, but there's no resolution, no way to put the pieces together. The narrator, Nick, is struggling with the impending death of his grandfather, while at the same time trying to keep an uneasy peace with his pregnant wife and their three children. What the reader struggles with is the disconnect between the Nick who is so lovingly, physically present as witness and caretaker to his grandfather's last days, and the Nick who is infuriatingly, selfishly, and dangerously neglectful of his own family. Particularly harrowing are the portrayals of the two young-adolescent children, Gareth (Nick's stepson) and Miranda (his daughter by his first wife). Gareth is a budding sociopath who can only relate to violent computer games, while Miranda is so swallowed by her own silent rage and absence of selfhood that she "moonlights" as the ghost that haunts the family's home (a subplot of the novel that is never fully developed or resolved). Worse, these children are essentially unparented - in fact, their relegation to other family members at the end of the novel appears to be a positive decision, a way Nick and his wife Fran can hope to resolve some of the stresses in their own life. The essential flaw in this novel is that these two "sides" of Nick - the devoted grandson and the negligent father - just don't mesh. The contradiction doesn't ring true emotionally. Meanwhile, Pat Barker has unleashed these two terrifying youngsters onto the world, and I can't stop thinking about them, especially because they present a chillingly accurate portrait of adolescence in contemporary culture.
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Format: Hardcover
Barker might have entitled this novel Still Another World, so many overlapping worlds does she present here. On the surface it is the story of Nick and the complex life he now shares with his second wife and new son, his ex-wife and daughter, and his strange stepson. It is the story, too, of the Fanshawe family, a much earlier, and also troubled, family that once inhabited the house Nick is now restoring.
But it is especially the story of Geordie, Nick's 101-year-old grandfather and the worlds he has known, including the world of war. Although Nick learned as a child that "You had to be two people, one in each world [of family and of school]," he has always believed that his grandfather "never changed; belonged to only one world." Now that Geordie is dying, however, Nick learns of Geordie's other worlds: his family life, his difficulties after World War I, his marriage, his war nightmares, the haunting death of his brother in battle, and his mother's comment that the wrong son died. And we see the tyranny of memory as Geordie relives his brother Harry's dying moments. Geordie himself says, "I know that what I remember seeing is false. It can't have been like that, and so the one thing I need to remember clearly, I can't ....It's as clear as this hand...only it's wrong."
These vividly depicted battles, real and symbolic, all raise questions of responsibility and blame as each character assesses the accuracy of his own memory. Even the supernatural is evoked, peripherally, as characters consider whether they have really seen what they think they have seen.
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