Regeneration Pat Barker Quotes

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A society that devours its own young deserves no automatic or unquestioning allegiance.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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You know you're walking around with a mask on, and you desperately want to take it off and you can't because everybody else thinks it's your face.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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In her novel Regeneration, Pat Barker writes of a doctor who 'knew only too well how often the early stages of change or cure may mimic deterioration. Cut a chrysalis open, and you will find a rotting caterpillar. What you will never find is that mythical creature, half caterpillar, half butterfly, a fit emblem of the human soul, for those whose cast of mind leads them to seek such emblems. No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.
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Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)
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I don't think it's possible to c-call yourself a C-Christian and... and j-just leave out the awkward bits.' -Wilfred Owen
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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Sometimes, in the trenches, you get the sense of something, ancient. One trench we held, it had skulls in the side, embedded, like mushrooms. It was actually easier to believe they were men from Marlborough's army, than to think they'd been alive a year ago. It was as if all the other wars had distilled themselves into this war, and that made it something you almost can't challenge. It's like a very deep voice, saying; 'Run along, little man, be glad you've survived
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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Somehow if she'd know the worst parts, she couldn't have gone on being a haven for him...Men said they didn't tell their women about France because they didn't want to worry them. but it was more than that. He needed her ignorance to hide in. Yet, at the same time, he wanted to know and be known as deeply as possible. And the two desires were irreconcilable.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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Murder is only killing in the wrong place.
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Pat Barker (The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3))
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We are Craiglockhart's success stories. Look at us. We don't remember, we don't feel, we don't think - at least beyond the confines of what's needed to do the job. By any proper civilized standard (but what does that mean now?) we are objects of horror. But our nerves are completely steady. And we are still alive.
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Pat Barker (The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3))
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The sky darkened, the air grew colder, but he didn't mind. It didn't occur to him to move. This was the right place. This was where he had wanted to be.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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Half the world's work's done by hopeless neurotics.
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Pat Barker (The Eye in the Door (Regeneration, #2))
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The way I see it, when you put the uniform on, in effect you sign a contract. And you don't back out of a contract merely because you've changed your mind. You can still speak up for your principles, you can still argue against the ones you're being made to fight for, but in the end you do the job.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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Fear, tenderness - these emotions were so despised that they could be admitted into consciousness only at the cost of redefining what it meant to be a man.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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He's a bar-room socialist, if that's what you mean. Beer and revolution go in, piss come out
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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Didn’t you find it all … rather unsatisfying?” β€œYes, but I couldn’t seem to see a way out. It was like being three different people, and they all wanted to go different ways.” A slight smile. β€œThe result was I went nowhere.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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A hundred years from now they'll still be ploughing up skulls. And I seemed to be in that time and looking back. I think I saw our ghosts.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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Ghosts everywhere. Even the living were only ghosts in the making. You learned to ration your commitment to them. This moment in this tent already had the quality of remembered experience. Or perhaps he was simply getting old. But then, after all, in trench time he was old. A generation lasted six months, less than that on the Somme, barely twelve weeks.
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Pat Barker (The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3))
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The people thrown into other cultures go through something of the anguish of the butterfly, whose body must disintegrate and reform more than once in its life cycle. In her novel β€œRegeneration,” Pat Barker writes of a doctor who β€œknew only too well how often the early stages of change or cure may mimic deterioration. Cut a chrysalis open, and you will find a rotting caterpillar. What you will never find is that mythical creature, half caterpillar, half butterfly, a fit emblem of the human soul, for those whose cat of mind leads them to seek such emblems. No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.” But the butterfly is so fit an emblem of the human soul that its name in Greek is β€œpsyche,” the word for soul. We have not much language to appreciate this phase of decay, this withdrawal, this era of ending that must precede beginning. Nor of the violence of the metamorphosis, which is often spoken of as though it were as graceful as a flower blooming.
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Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)
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It was... the Great White God de-throned, I suppose. Because we did, we quite unselfconsciously assumed we were the measure of all things. That was how we approached them. And suddenly I saw that we weren't the measure of all things, but that there was no measure.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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Fathers remain opaque to their sons, he thought, largely because the sons find it so hard to believe that there's anything in the father worth seeing. Until he's dead, and it's too late. Mercifully, doctors are also opaque to their patients.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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One began by finding mental illness mystifying, and ended by being still more mystified by health.
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Pat Barker (The Eye in the Door ( Regeneration, #2))
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In some ways the experience of these young men paralleled the experience of the very old. They looked back on intense memories and felt lonely because there was nobody left alive who’d been there.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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On the face of it he seemed to be congratulating himself on dealing with patients more humanely than Yealland, but then why the mood of self-accusation? In the dream he stood in Yealland’s place. The dream seemed to be saying, in dream language, don’t flatter yourself. There is no distinction.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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The past is a palimpsest. Early memories are always obscured by accumulations of later knowledge.
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Pat Barker (The Eye in the Door (Regeneration, #2))
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I don't know what I am, but I wouldn't want a faith that couldn't handle facts.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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This reinforced Rivers’s view that it was prolonged strain, immobility and helplessness that did the damage, and not the sudden shocks or bizarre horrors that the patients themselves were inclined to point to as the explanation for their condition. That would help to account for the greater prevalence of anxiety neuroses and hysterical disorders in women in peacetime, since their relatively more confined lives gave them fewer opportunities of reacting to stress in active and constructive ways. Any explanation of war neurosis must account for the fact that this apparently intensely masculine life of war and danger and hardship produced in men the same disorders that women suffered from in peace.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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we quite unselfconsciously assumed we were the measure of all things. That was how we approached them. And suddenly I saw not only that we weren't the measure of all things, but that there was no measure.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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(In response to 'In the end moral and political truths have to proved on the body.[ ie put one's body on the line to prove a truth] That's a very dangerous idea. It comes quite close to saying that the willingness to suffer proves the rightness of belief. But is doesn't. The most it can ever prove is the believer's sincerity. And not always that. some people just like suffering.
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Pat Barker (The Eye in the Door (Regeneration, #2))
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Any explanation of war neurosis must account for the fact that this apparently intensely masculine life of war and danger and hardship produced in men the same disorders that women suffered from in peace. So
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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his experience, premonitions of disaster were almost invariably proved false, and the road to Calvary entered on with the very
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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In his experience, premonitions of disaster were almost invariably proved false, and the road to Calvary entered on with the very lightest of hearts. MR
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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The sea was calm, almost inaudible, a toothless mouth mumbling pebbles in the darkness.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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It's almost as if for the labouring classes, illness has to be physical. They can't take their condition seriously unless there's a physical symptom.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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The process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration)
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And the Great Adventure - the real life equivalent of all the adventure stories they'd devoured as boys - consisted of crouching in a dugout, waiting to be killed. The war that had promised so much in the way of 'manly' activity had actually delivered 'feminine' passivity, and on a scale that their mothers and sisters had hardly known. No wonder they broke down.
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Pat Barker (The Regeneration Trilogy (Regeneration, #1-3))
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And as soon as you accepted that the man’s breakdown was a consequence of his war experience rather than his own innate weakness, then inevitably the war became the issue. And the therapy was a test, not only of the genuineness of the individual’s symptoms, but also of the validity of the demands the war was making on him. Rivers had survived partly by suppressing his awareness of this. But then along came Sassoon and made the justifiability of the war a matter for constant, open debate, and that suppression was no longer possible. At times it seemed to Rivers that all his other patients were the anvil and that Sassoon was the hammer. Inevitably there were times when he resented this. As a civilian, Rivers’s life had consisted of asking questions, and devising methods by which truthful answers could be obtained, but there are limits to how many fundamental questions you want to ask in a working day that starts before eight am and doesn’t end till midnight.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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Ghost-Managing Book List The Uninvited Guests, by Sadie Jones Ceremonies of the Damned, by Adrian C. Louis Moon of the Crusted Snow, by Waubgeshig Rice Father of Lies, by Brian Evenson The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead Asleep, by Banana Yoshimoto The Hatak Witches, by Devon A. Mihesuah Beloved, by Toni Morrison The Through, by A. Rafael Johnson Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders Savage Conversations, by LeAnne Howe The Regeneration Trilogy, by Pat Barker Exit Ghost, by Philip Roth Songs for Discharming, by Denise Sweet Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57, by Gerald Vizenor
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Louise Erdrich (The Sentence)
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But I shot the dog myself. I took him into the barn holding on to his collar. He knew something bad was going to happen, and he rolled over on to his back and showed me his puppy-pink tummy and widdled a bit, quite certain these devices for deflecting aggression would work. I tickled him behind his ear and said, 'Sorry, old son. I'm human-we're not like that.
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Pat Barker (The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3))
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In leading his patients to understand that breakdown was nothing to be ashamed of, that horror and fear were inevitable responses to the trauma of war and were better acknowledged than suppressed, that feelings of tenderness for other men were natural and right, that tears were an acceptable and helpful part of grieving, he was setting himself against the whole tenor of their upbringing. They’d been trained to identify emotional repression as the essence of manliness.
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Pat Barker (The Regeneration Trilogy: Regeneration; The Eye in the Door; The Ghost Road)
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Totally Biased List of Tookie’s Favorite Books Ghost-Managing Book List The Uninvited Guests, by Sadie Jones Ceremonies of the Damned, by Adrian C. Louis Moon of the Crusted Snow, by Waubgeshig Rice Father of Lies, by Brian Evenson The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead Asleep, by Banana Yoshimoto The Hatak Witches, by Devon A. Mihesuah Beloved, by Toni Morrison The Through, by A. Rafael Johnson Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders Savage Conversations, by LeAnne Howe The Regeneration Trilogy, by Pat Barker Exit Ghost, by Philip Roth Songs for Discharming, by Denise Sweet Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57, by Gerald Vizenor Short Perfect Novels Too Loud a Solitude, by Bohumil Hrabel Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson Sula, by Toni Morrison The Shadow-Line, by Joseph Conrad The All of It, by Jeannette Haine Winter in the Blood, by James Welch Swimmer in the Secret Sea, by William Kotzwinkle The Blue Flower, by Penelope Fitzgerald First Love, by Ivan Turgenev Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf Waiting for the Barbarians, by J. M. Coetzee Fire on the Mountain, by Anita Desai
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Louise Erdrich (The Sentence)
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He didn't like the way the gown fastened at the back. He didn't mind displaying his wares, if he liked the other person and the time seemed right, but he did like the illusion at least that the act was voluntary.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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We have to die, we don't have to worship it.
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Pat Barker (The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3))
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Shotfarfet.
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Pat Barker (The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3))
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Must be quite nice, really. A foot on each side of the fence. Long as you don’t mind what it’s doing to your balls.
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Pat Barker (The Eye in the Door ( Regeneration, #2))
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From then on the improvement was dramatic, though still the conversations with the dead friend continued, until one morning he awoke crying, and realized he was crying, not only for his own loss but also for his friend's, for the unloved years.
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Pat Barker (The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3))
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privacy sacrificed without intimacy being gained.
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Pat Barker (The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3))
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He’d found himself wondering once or twice recently what possible meaning the restoration of mental health could have in relation to his work. Normally a cure implies that the patient will no longer engage in behaviour that is clearly self-destructive. But in present circumstances, recovery meant the resumption of activities that were not merely self-destructive but positively suicidal. But then in a war nobody is a free agent. He and Yealland were both locked in, every bit as much as their patients were.
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Pat Barker (The Regeneration Trilogy: Regeneration; The Eye in the Door; The Ghost Road)
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Ceremonies of the Damned, by Adrian C. Louis Moon of the Crusted Snow, by Waubgeshig Rice Father of Lies, by Brian Evenson The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead Asleep, by Banana Yoshimoto The Hatak Witches, by Devon A. Mihesuah Beloved, by Toni Morrison The Through, by A. Rafael Johnson Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders Savage Conversations, by LeAnne Howe The Regeneration Trilogy, by Pat Barker Exit Ghost, by Philip Roth Songs for Discharming, by Denise Sweet Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57, by Gerald Vizenor Short Perfect Novels Too Loud a Solitude, by Bohumil Hrabal Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson Sula, by Toni Morrison The Shadow-Line, by Joseph Conrad
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Louise Erdrich (The Sentence)
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Rivers thought how misleading it was to say that the war had β€˜matured’ these young men. It wasn’t true of his patients, and it certainly wasn’t true of Burns, in whom a prematurely aged man and a fossilized schoolboy seemed to exist side by side. It did give him a curiously ageless quality, but β€˜maturity’ was hardly the word.
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Pat Barker (The Regeneration Trilogy: Regeneration; The Eye in the Door; The Ghost Road)
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What you're saying is, OK the war isn't being fought for the reasons we're told but it is being fought for a reason. It's not benefiting the people it's supposed to be benefiting but it is benefiting somebody. And I don't believe that, you see. I think things are actually much worse than you think because there isn't any kind of rational justification left. It's become a self-perpetuating system. Nobody benefits. Nobody's in control. Nobody knows how to stop.
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Pat Barker (The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3))
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He paused. Then added with great emphasis: You must speak, but I shall not listen to anything you have to say.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration)
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Nothing justifies this. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing
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Pat Barker (Regeneration)
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Suicides were rare now. The war had cheered everybody up.
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Pat Barker (The Regeneration Trilogy (Regeneration, #1-3))
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Some MOs would send a corpse back if you propped one up in front of them, particularly now when every man was needed for the latest in a long line of 'one last pushes'.
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Pat Barker (The Regeneration Trilogy (Regeneration, #1-3))
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There are no words. There are no words for what I felt when I saw the setting sun rise.
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Pat Barker (The Regeneration Trilogy (Regeneration, #1-3))
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Ghost-Managing Book List The Uninvited Guests, by Sadie Jones Ceremonies of the Damned, by Adrian C. Louis Moon of the Crusted Snow, by Waubgeshig Rice Father of Lies, by Brian Evenson The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead Asleep, by Banana Yoshimoto The Hatak Witches, by Devon A. Mihesuah Beloved, by Toni Morrison The Through, by A. Rafael Johnson Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders Savage Conversations, by LeAnne Howe The Regeneration Trilogy, by Pat Barker Exit Ghost, by Philip Roth Songs for Discharming, by Denise Sweet Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57, by Gerald Vizenor Short Perfect Novels Too Loud a Solitude, by Bohumil Hrabal Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson Sula, by Toni Morrison The Shadow-Line, by Joseph Conrad The All of It, by Jeannette Haien Winter in the Blood, by James Welch Swimmer in the Secret Sea, by William Kotzwinkle The Blue Flower, by Penelope Fitzgerald First Love, by Ivan Turgenev Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf Waiting for the Barbarians, by J. M. Coetzee Fire on the Mountain, by Anita Desai
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Louise Erdrich (The Sentence)
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Asleep, by Banana Yoshimoto The Hatak Witches, by Devon A. Mihesuah Beloved, by Toni Morrison The Through, by A. Rafael Johnson Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders Savage Conversations, by LeAnne Howe The Regeneration Trilogy, by Pat Barker Exit Ghost, by Philip Roth Songs for Discharming, by Denise Sweet Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57, by Gerald Vizenor
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Louise Erdrich (The Sentence)
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Half the world's work is done by hopeless neurotics
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Pat Barker (The Eye in the Door (Regeneration, #2))
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But it's not very likely, is it, that any movement towards greater tolerance would persist in wartime? After all, in war, you've got this enormous emphasis on love between men - comradeship - and everybody approves. But at the same time there's always this little niggle of anxiety. Is it right kind of love? Well, one of the ways you make sure it's the right kind is to make it crystal clear what the penalties for the other kind are.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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He looked at his face in the glass. In this half-light, against white tiles, it looked scarcely less ghostly than Orme’s. A memory tweaked the edges of his mind. Another glass, on the top landing at home, a dark, oval mirror framing the face of a small, pale child. Himself. Five years old, perhaps. Now why did he remember that? Birds had been singing, then, too. Sparrows, twittering in the ivy. A day of shouts and banged doors and tears in rooms he was not allowed to enter. The day his father left home. Or the day he died? No, the day he left. Sassoon smiled, amused at the link he’d discovered, and then stopped smiling. He’d joked once or twice to Rivers about his being his father confessor, but only now, faced with this second abandonment, did he realize how completely Rivers had come to take his father’s place.
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Pat Barker (The Regeneration Trilogy: Regeneration; The Eye in the Door; The Ghost Road)
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He remembered the feel of No Man's Land, the vast, unimaginable space. By day, seen through a periscope, this immensity shrank to a small, pock-marked stretch of ground, snarled with wire. You never got used to the discrepancy. Part of its power to compel the imagination lay precisely in that. It was the difference between seeing a mouth ulcer and probing it with your tongue.
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Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
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died. In some ways the experience of these young men paralleled the experience of the very old. They looked back on intense memories and felt lonely because there was nobody left alive who’d been there.
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Pat Barker (The Regeneration Trilogy: Regeneration; The Eye in the Door; The Ghost Road)