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The Ghost Road

The Regeneration Trilogy, Book 3
Written by: Pat Barker
Narrated by: Peter Firth
Length: 5 hrs and 47 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

This novel challenges our assumptions about relationships between the classes, doctors and patients, men and women, and men and men. It completes the author's exploration of the First World War, and is a timeless depiction of humanity in extremis. Winner of the 1995 Booker Prize.
©1996 Pat Barker (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
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  • Jean
  • 2016-01-12

Man Booker Prize Winner

I have read the other two books in the trilogy and now have completed book three. The book won the 1995 Man Booker prize and many other prizes. The series is about the physical and mental trauma on the British soldiers from World War One. I have spent the past 10 years studying World War One, reading all I can find on the subject. This series is a novel but dramatically tells of the carnage the War had on the men. I think I liked the first book the best in this trilogy.

The historical fiction had two real poets in the story Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, as well as the author Robert Graves. The psychiatrist Dr. Rivers was also a real person not fictional. By the second year of the War the unprecedented carnage was so great the British soldier’s felt no one could find the words to explain it anymore. There grew a divide between available language and actual experiences. In spite of or because of it countless letters, poems, and diaries were written by the soldiers accordingly it became known as a prodigiously literary war.

Barker, in her novel wrote a section that really hit home with me. “Lt. Billy Prior sits listening to the sounds of pens scratching and pages turning---at least two would-be poets in the hut alone---and, in his own diary, tells us why the men write: ‘I think it’s a way of claiming immunity. First person’s narrators can’t die’.”

In the first two books Lt. Prior and the poets are under treatment by Dr. Rivers for mental problems related to the War. In this book they are back fighting in the War. The title of this book speaks to the ghost both seen and unseen, in all of us. Barker has created a tale of the effects of WWI on the mental health of the British soldiers and its effect on British society. Peter Firth did an excellent job narrating the series.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeff Lacy
  • 2017-04-12

Superior across the board

Peter Firth does a superior job narrating this trilogy. One of the best performances I have heard. He brings the story to life-sensitive to phrasing, dialogue, and character distinction (finding the voice of each character). As such, he does a great service to Pat Barker's trilogy that is written with great imagination, painting the story and characters with care and balance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • GP
  • 2014-08-02

A big disappointment

I loved the first in this series. The second in the series left a lot to be desired. The third and final, having been raved about and won awards, was highly anticipated. Sadly a disappointment.

The book feels like a number of random remembrances by the central characters. They join up now and then, but basically their lives and stories are independent. The story line, and the characters, seem to lack emotion and substance, ambling from one scene to the next.

I'm following, but it's an apathetic journey.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Joicey
  • 2016-12-11

Raw, real and utterly compelling.

The characters, some historic figures, were unashamedly themselves. Scenes from a hospital, a horrible war & an anthropological journey shifted. Because audible, it was sometimes hard to follow the shifts, especially because the shifts weren't sequential. I was so impressed by the language & the vivid descriptions I'm going to by a text version. I'll think about this book a long time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Timothy J. Smith
  • 2016-07-13

An essential read for WWI

Alongside The Guns of August this trilogy is utterly remarkable in its power to convey the humanity and inhumanity that is modern warfare. The brusque comparison to the so called primitive head-hunting culture with its ritualized but contained conflicts is especially thought provoking

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cariola
  • 2009-07-28

Most Accaimed . . .?

This third book in Barker's trilogy has garnered the most accolades, inclduing winning the Booker Prize. However, I still think that "Regeneration" is the best of the three.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • TiffanyD
  • 2019-02-02

Final part of a staggering indictment against WWI

The Regeneration trilogy is a remarkable work and I highly recommend the entire trilogy. That being said, now that I have read them all I think the first one was the strongest. This final book, in which we finally visit the battle fields, makes some narrative shifts that took some getting used to. First of all was Billy Prior's first person narration, via his journal. If memory serves this was Barker's first move away from the third person. The other jarring narrative shift was the sudden introduction of flashbacks to Rivers' time in the Solomon Islands and his friendship with a local healer. At first I called foul--the introduction of this back story seemed out of place. But as it turns out, it was part of the real Rivers' own back story so not a clumsy invention after all.

As audio books go, this series was well narrated by Peter Firth. I do wish that Book 3 had been broken up into individual chapters that matched the text, as Book 2 was. Instead, it was just chopped into six chunks. Otherwise, well done!

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  • James
  • 2018-11-08

End of the trilogy

Pat Barker wrote a 3 book trilogy, Regeneration. In my opinion, the first was very good and worth reading and I recommend it to others. The second was a disappointment. This last falls between the two. Without reading the first, and to a much lesser degree the second, however, the background and motivating forces behind the main characters in this last of the trilogy will be lost.

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  • Kathy Lonergan
  • 2016-08-09

Hard to believe the continued stupidity of was!

Listened to the Trilogy while I exercised. Slow moving and totally engrossing. Well read. Loved it

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  • Jonelle
  • 2010-06-06

Third and Final Regeneration Trilogy Entry

While this is the book in the Regeneration trilogy that won Barker the awards, I think it is the weakest...but definitely worth reading if you have read the earlier two (Regeneration and The Eye in the Door).

2 of 4 people found this review helpful