Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Pat Barker's book Regeneration, a novel "about" a psychiatrist and his wartime patients in 1917 is quite excellent. The story is not centered on a single plot with a beginning, middle, and end, though it is framed around the extent of Siegfried Sassoon's stay at Craiglockhart. What's really so, well, comforting is the strength of the prose. It's neither heavy-handed, nor Spartan, but just, overall, clever accounting. Everyone in the story seems clever but somewhat ruined and aware of it. The dialogue's entertaining, and really, I was surprised how much a book ostensibly on war could keep my interest and edify at the same time.
Just near the end, our good Dr. Rivers thinks to himself...
A society that devours its own young deserves no automatic or unquestioning allegiance.

Also, I very much like this Penguin Plume Contemporary Fiction cover by Robert Clyde Anderson. Highly rec'd.

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In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with. I don't. Would you take two negative messages?
-- Woody Allen