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Another World [BOOKS] ✪ Another World By Pat Barker – The Barnes Noble Review A good novel draws readers into a situation in which they have an emotional stake in the characters and their story Through this personal connection readers have an opportunity The Barnes Noble Review A good novel draws readers into a situation in which they have an emotional stake in the characters and their story Through this personal connection readers have an opportunity to learn about themselves and possibly about the larger world A great novel on the other hand one like Pat Barker's eighth novel Another World achieves this while mysteriously shadowing reality with such haunting detail and clarity of vision that conjuring seems a appropriate word for the process than mere writing Another World is packed with chilling millennial insight whether it be into the current media celebration of centenarians the specter of a ground war in Europe our revisiting of past wars in recent films such as Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line or the mass murder of students by students at Columbine High School Pat Barker hasn't always been the grande dame of English literature While her first four books were generously reviewed in America they were all but ignored at home From Durham England an old cathedral town where she jokes crime is the chief industry Barker says My work explores the English class system and I was and still am to an extent read through distorted glasses because of it If you're writing about people who left school at and haven't got much money well this surely isn't a worthy subject for literature But Americans aren't so hung up about such nonsense Labeled a gritty working class feminist writer Barker in a sense had written herself into a corner The natural instinct is to talk yourselfoutof something like this she says but the real truth is that you have to write your way out of it which takes some time And as the general tenor of her work slowly began to change so did the attention in England Today Barker's reputation rests on her massive exploration of the fallout of war the acclaimed Regeneration trilogy — the concluding volume of which won England's most esteemed literary award the Booker Prize In each of these three immensely moving and impeccably researched historical novels Regerneration The Eye in the Door The Ghost Road Barker explores the psychological aftermath of fighting in the trenches of World War I In Another World she returns to the First World War but this time through Geordie a year old veteran eking out the last months of his seen it all done it all life Barker grew up with men like Geordie so this was a natural direction for her She says My grandfather suffered a bayonet wound in the First World War; my stepfather came home with permanent lung damage because he was gassed in the trenches at ; my father disappeared in the Second World War; and my uncle came home shell shocked a very different man from the one who left in It's uite easy to see how I became interested in the continuing cost of war the idea that the trail of psychiatric casualties mount over time Nick is Geordie's grandson He and his second wife Fran have recently relocated to the old Fanshawe house in Lob's Hill Their family is a blend of previous marriages Jasper is the youngest Gareth is in the middle and Miranda visiting Nick's family for the summer because her mother has been carted off to the asylum is at the oldest Fran is also pregnant This new home was supposed to be a new beginning for them all especially for Fran who admits I just don't like what I've turned into But the house which carries the secret of an oddly foreshadowing murder almost a century before ultimately destroys such hopes At this point the story forks Nick's stepson Gareth is increasingly becoming a problem His penchant for evil advances from a rather harmless although disgusting swipe of Nick's toothbrush around the rim of a toilet bowl to an attack on Jasper that nearly takes his life Standing above his brother on a mountain cliff Gareth hurls a stone that connects gashing Jasper's head Barker says she was interested in the uestion of whether not it is a uniuely disturbed child who kills or are there other children every bit as disturbed who do not go on to kill Through Gareth Barker is saying that the actual business of killing another child happens almost accidentally as if for some reason all the cards are unluckily aligned on that particular day at that particular time In the case of Gareth the only reason Jasper does not die is because the stone is too small While Fran and Nick's family life at home is falling apart Nick must spend his nights taking care of Geordie Although convinced that he's dying from a bayonet wound suffered than years ago Geordie's real nemesis is cancer I am in hell Geordie confesses to Nick between painkillers and nightmares The war has been torturing him again especially the memory of his brother Harry who never made it home Barker's unflinching portrayal of Geordie's mental and physical decay is gritty honest and powerful The final chapters seamlessly if not shockingly weave the story together on several different fronts And in doing so Another World announces that while the world may be on the threshold of a new century a new millennium and a new beginning the past is always close behind — Nelson Taylor.

10 thoughts on “Another World

  1. Ted Ted says:

    I actually liked this book almost as much as the Regeneration trilogy To me the World War I background of the trilogy was inherently interesting but the psychological drama of this book was close to eualing that of the earlier Regeneration works which immediately preceded this novel Previous review 33 Moments of HappinessNext review ArrowsmithMore recent review First Dictionary of Cultural LiteracyPrevious library review The Ghost RoadNext library review The Sense of an Ending

  2. Giedre Giedre says:

    I seem to be on a uest for awkward books as right after finishing Cunningham's A Home at the End of the World I have stumbled upon Another World by Pat Barker I was feeling hungry for another book of Barker's as almost two years have passed after I finished the Regeneration trilogy It fascinated me at that time in so many senses that I was a bit afraid of reading another book by Barker lest it should disappoint me Another World did not disappoint me at all and I believe now was the right book to follow the trilogy The action of Another World takes place in our time and revolves around a family whose main characters are a university professor Nick and his grandfather Geordie a 101 years old veteran of WWI There are a lot of other characters who are important and at the same time they remain somewhat in the background not fully developed not fully understood I feel that the author wanted them to remain this way getting the book to closer resemble real life When I think about Geordie I try to imagine the characters from Regeneration living in our time and society and I fail But there he is a living fossil a relic from the times of the World War I placed in our days One of the main themes Barker analyses is memory Geordie's traumatic war memories are suddenly becoming stronger as he is getting closer to his deathbed Throughout the book and its different characters Barker uestions the consistency and permanence of our memory suggesting that it may be malleable instead changing and adapting together with the environment and perceptions of other peopleAnother topic Barker skillfully analyses and which I found uncomfortable and at the same time captivating is death I had a feeling that no detail no dismaying aspect of it has escaped the author's eye Reading the passages of the book was difficult at times as it brought to surface some related memories of my own but it also brought me closer to the story and its characters A really great book recommended to those who are not afraid of being lead out of their comfort zone

  3. James James says:

    Another World by Pat Barker is a novel whose parts do not add up to the sum of the whole There is no getting there in this novel for there is nowhere to go With the past dripping into the present through a ghost and a hidden mural in the family's home the novel has enough of the past to create interest; yet it does not The characters are well drawn but there is no follow through and the reader is left wondering what to make of it all This was a disappointment for this reader who immensely enjoyed the author's Regeneration Trilogy Regeneration The Eye in the Door and The Ghost Road By all means read Pat Barker but start with her earlier trilogy

  4. Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... says:

    Another World by Pat Barker takes place in the current day with a big portion of the story occurring in the memories of the old man who fought in WW1 Our main characters are Nick and his grandfather Geordie Nick is a university professor who is there to help care for his grandpa who is at the end of his life Geordie is a 101 year old man in his last days and a veteran of the first world war Although many other members of the family are present they are mostly unimportant and part of the backgroundThe story is really about memory How does trauma affect it? What about age? Is Geordie's memory stronger as he nears his death or is it less reliable I like how the author uestions the permanence and reliability of memory She uses her characters to show us how memory is colored by our personal views and experiences Memory changes and adapts It is about perception What we value at one point in our life differs from other times and those values affect what we remember and how we see things And sometimes the memories are also affected by the stories we hear from others They intertwine and meld together changing the storyBut for me the power of this book was about its exploration of death and grief These moments between Nick and Geordie were uite beautiful The emotions were real and raw and brought to my mind my own feelings about the last week of my father's life I found myself wishing that he had been alert and verbal during that time so that I could relive it and ask him a million uestions probing his memory regardless of its malleability Explorations of death always resonate with me It is one experience that we will all face Losing a person we loved is a universal experience and the emotions that are triggered are parallel to those of others in the similar place

  5. Ricardo Ricardo says:

    Normally I'm a slow reader but this one I read uite fastAt the time I was temporarily working at a residential hospital and the 30min train ride from and to my house was spent reading this Maybe it was the mindset I was in at that time that made me connect with the character of Geordie and mainly with the relationship and process between him and Nick the caretaker I thought it was a great way to sincerely describe such a processNow I also understand how some of you were frustrated with this book mainly those who didn't have something so specific to take from it like I hadGeordie and Nick were only a part of the book and I too felt a little disappointed that the book didn't explore all the potential of the beginning This was my initial digestion of Another Worldbut then I realized I was getting distracted with small things and when I stopped caring about what was missing or what could have been there it was clear Another World is a subtle approach to a tricky subject We have three characters haunted by mistakes done innocently or the desireimpulse to do so in the case of Gareth This reminded me of Ian McEwan's AtonementAt first I thought all the mystery behind the wall painting and the child like figures' appearances relating to the Fanshawes' story were too much and were taking a direction I did not want the story to take and it didn't Focusing on the subject mistakes like that or even the possibility of having done such a thing as innocent and unconscious like Muriel's story Geordie's foggy memory or Gareth's impulses will haunt you like a ghost forever I do think this main is very well explored by the author through all the different story lines it captivates me and I now find myself thinking about this book and the flaws it shows in human natureAfter all this there's one thing that annoyed me and it is Miranda and why she is a dead end in terms of character In the beginning she was the character I was most interested in and kept waiting for something to develop there but it never happened maybe this would have been the fifth star on my rating

  6. Charlotte Charlotte says:

    I uite enjoyed this book and warmed to the characters However I did find that there were parts which could have been further developed you were sort of left hanging For example the bullying episodes – would sending Gareth off to granny do the trick? And what about Barbara in the looney bin? Then there was the ghost thing what was that all about? Was there a ghost? What was the point of it? Did it have something to do with an idea of slipping in and out of time – different moments in time?There were some very good one liners although these too were somehow never developed ie p9 Barbara coming in from the garden He Nick and Miranda exchanged glances in it together And then less than a year later he moved out and Miranda realized that while she was in it for life he was merely in it for the duration of the marriagechokengistitikchokeng 73 If as Nick believed you should go to the past looking not for messages or warnings but simply to be humbled by the weight of human experience that has preceded the brief flicker of your own few dayschokengistitikchokeng 87 The only true or useful thing that can be said about the past is that it’s over p 232 The fact is that birth and death both go on too long for those who watch beside the bed The appropriate emotions dry upI think one of the parts I enjoyed most was when Nick and Geordie go off to visit the cemetary I enjoyed their relationship

  7. lawyerbookworm lawyerbookworm says:

    Hated every minute of this book I thought the family was strange and I felt an uncomfortable inappropriately sexual tension among all the characters that really put me in a weird mood The concept of the book could have been interesting but the mood made it feel not uite right What a slog

  8. Sarah Sarah says:

    Didn't start well but got into the swing eventually However it didn't really hang together A mishmash of stuff that could have been interesting on it's own but didn't really fit together and allow the narrative to breathe And why the ghost story? No need for it really

  9. Sharon Sharon says:

    I got gripped by the story of this dysfunctional family moving into a new house which appeared to be haunted by the past During decorating they uncovered an old drawing of the previous family – the Fanshawes This family appeared to mirror their own and the past began to haunt Nick Fran and their children The suspense is only heightened as Nick begins to uncover a sinister past attached to the Fanshawe’s while his own family begin to turn against each other Could this be the past coming back to haunt them?Then all of a sudden the excitement seemed to be lost; this enthralling story was never properly returned to and it became a less dramatic but nevertheless touching account of the death of Nick’s grandfather Geordie During Geordie’s slow decline he is plagued by the past and his memories of the trenches of WWI including the death of his brotherThe characters are really well rounded and their relationships rich From the suabbling half siblings to Nick and Geordie’s interactions you could really feel each emotion from awkwardness to pure loveIt is thought provoking in the sense of how things are remembered by people who have suffered trauma and it is so open and sometimes perhaps a little uncomfortably descriptive of the last days of Geordie’s life and how family cope with deathMy only gripe with the book is that so many things were left unanswered I suppose Barker was going for an overall sense of how the past can affect the living but it hinted at ghosts there was a traumatised boy who nearly killed his little brother and many issues that were just brushed under the carpet I felt a bit let down by the ending Three stars for the characterisation relationships and descriptive writing style but I would probably drop it to two for satisfaction on finishing it

  10. Matt Matt says:

    The thing I most enjoy about this book is that after finishing it one continues to think about it going over the various elements of the story trying to see how they might cohere into a unifying theme One does not come away from the book with thiswith a clear sense of an ending or resolution Rather the various sections resonate after the novel has been read and the reader if so inclined as this one is must continue to think about the book and see what conclusions can be derived I for one do not mind having the opportunity to need to continue to think about the book after the last page is read

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