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Toby's Room (2012)

af Pat Barker

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Serier: Brooke Family (2)

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5812441,156 (3.96)61
A portrait of an upper-class family torn by World War I centers on an anguished sister whose beloved brother goes missing in action, in an epic tale that explores the experiences of the family members and the working-class people who support them.
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Viser 1-5 af 24 (næste | vis alle)
Whilst not up there with the 'Regeneration' trilogy, this is an involving read. Toby is never present beyond the first few chapters of the book: istead it is his sister Elinor. But he is entirely central to the narrative. His confused sexual feelings, his disappearance in action (this is the First World War) in more than usually odd circumstances. All of this occupies Elinor's thoughts and actions, despite her career as an artist. It's an interesting look at the life at that time of a woman such as Elinor, and a good story too, so I'm not sure why I don't give it more stars. Maybe I'll add to this later.... ( )
  Margaret09 | Apr 15, 2024 |
Toby's Room, as you can tell from the front cover design, continues Pat Barker's preoccupation with themes of war, survival and recovery, so I was interested to read at Wikipedia that before writing the Regeneration Trilogy (1991, 1993, 1995) she felt that she had been typecast as a northern, regional, working class, feminist—label, label, label—novelist.

Since I've only read her war novels and one of her forays into rewriting Greek myth, I hadn't come to this conclusion at all. Perhaps I should read Liza's England (1986) which has been waiting patiently on the TBR since I found it years ago in an OpShop. Wikipedia tells me that her other novels which apparently acquired these labels were

There are class distinctions in the novel, but I hadn't paid much attention to them because they seemed extraneous to the main theme of memory and how it is constructed. Which was wrong of me, because when you're sending men to war as cannon fodder, it does matter that the officers are better fed than the men, and that even when they are wounded, they are treated better than the men...

Toby's Room explores the WW1 lives of characters from Barker's previous novels, but her focus has shifted to the medical aftermath for the wounded and how families process bereavement. Elinor Brooke, Kit Neville and Paul Tarrant are fictionalised versions of real-life students at the Slade School of Fine Art and so is Mr Tonks was their intimidating teacher there.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2023/04/27/tobys-room-2012-by-pat-barker/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | Apr 27, 2023 |
Somewhat like a television mystery.
  wbell539 | Dec 22, 2021 |
Not having read anything previously by this author I came to it fresh, as it were, with no pre-conceptions or expectations. I was very disappointed, the characters for the most part were bland and very poorly fleshed out. The one character that wasn't bland was inexplicably loud without any real explanation as to why.

The "shocking" scene very early on in the book was not picked up later on and I could not understand why it was included in the first place as it had no relevance to the story or the characters as they unfolded. What on earth was the author thinking by including such a scene without any follow-up in any way shape or form.

To be honest, I found the whole thing pretty much irrelevant. The fact that it was set in the First World War sent to be a contrivance rather than an intent. It added nothing apart from background. If you haven't read it, don't bother.

( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
This story is divided into two parts. The first section is a prequel to [Life Class] and looks at the family of Elinor Brooke, art student and her relationship with her older brother Toby. I struggled a little bit with the direction this took...However Part 2 moves on to 1917 when Toby is working as a field surgeon at the front in France. Kit Neville is a stretcher bearer there as well. In pre-war days they had met once as equals through Elinor. However, in France, Toby is an officer and their relationship is uncomfortable. Toby takes risks, insisting on leading them out in search of the dead and army identifiction tags. Kit sees this as risking the lives of men for the dead.
Eventually, the family are informed of Toby's death and Elinor is grief stricken. When Kit is returned suffering a serious facial injury, she asks mutual friend Paul to visit Kit and find out the details of Toby's death.
The second section features the work done in plastic surgery by a New Zealand born Dr Gillies and the role art plays in his work. I found this interesting and found myself googling his work. Admirable indeed. I will now have to source the third book in this trilogy. ( )
  HelenBaker | Apr 27, 2020 |
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Barker, Patprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Barber, NicolaFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Bew, KieranFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Gitmez, ÖzlemOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Mandelkow, MiriamÜbersetzermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Prague, JulietFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Robertson, FinlayFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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A portrait of an upper-class family torn by World War I centers on an anguished sister whose beloved brother goes missing in action, in an epic tale that explores the experiences of the family members and the working-class people who support them.

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