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Border Crossing: A Novel
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Border Crossing: A Novel

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  914 ratings  ·  87 reviews
Out walking with his wife, Lauren, beside the river Tyne, Tom Seymour instinctively risks his life to save a young man who they happen to notice just before he jumps into the icy current. Tom's spontaneous act saves the life of someone whose past, as well as his future, he feels a sense of responsibility towards. Recently released from prison, and living under an assumed n ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 9th 2002 by Picador (first published January 1st 2001)
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This was so intense, I was torn between wanting to read the whole thing at one sitting and needing to take a break just to get some mental breathing space. Yes, it was short, but it was so tight; not a word was wasted.

If it was adapted into a screenplay I could see it being the perfect vehicle for a young actor to really prove his acting chops as Danny/Ian in much the same way as Primal Fear was for Edward Norton (who was really the only good thing in the film but, oh, SO good). The source mater
Shaun Ryan
Barker's prose is beautifully bleak, breathing life into her setting and characters while maintaining a sense of oppression, as though her fictional England and its people haven't seen the sun for months but manage to hope that at any moment it might break through the clouds.

A story of memories that we often allow to deceive us, buried trauma and the way it creates hidden pathologies, and our sometimes fatal attraction to darkness, Border Crossing showcases our ability and willingness to both ma
Carolyn Thomas
Tom and Lauren are out walking along the deserted Newcastle waterfront one dismal grey afternoon when they suddenly notice a young man at the water's edge - a young man who appears to swallow a bottle of pills, and then throws himself into the icy current. Instinctively Tom jumps in to save him, drags him to shore, wraps him in a coat and calls for an ambulance. Although he feels a vague interest in the outcome, it isn't until he realizes he has wrapped the unknown man in his own coat that he de ...more
Diane S.
3.5 In clear, concise and straightforward prose, Barker gives us another psychological novel, this time about a possible child killer. Was the ten year old convicted of killing an 80 yr. old woman, or was he in fact innocent. This is something psychiatrist Tom Seymour must ascertain, not once but twice. The suspense in this book was amazing and the subject matter so fascinating. What makes a psychopath or sociopath? I also like that the ending is not all spelled out and some of it is left to the ...more
Rachel Brown
I read this because I loved Barker’s harrowing, gorgeously written, revelatory Regeneration trilogy, about shell-shocked soldiers in WWI. Having read Border Crossing… I highly recommend Regeneration.

Tom Seymour, a psychologist, is walking along the river with his soon-to-be-ex-wife when a young man leaps into the river. Tom jumps in and saves his life. And then discovers that the young man, Danny, was once a ten-year-old boy who had gone to prison for murder after Tom had examined him and testif
I read this about three years ago for an English class, so my memory of it is a little fuzzy at some points. However, I do remember being incredibly let down when I finished it. I think this is mainly due to the perspective it is told from. I could never quite comprehend if Danny was guilty or not, but looking back, that was probably the intention of the author given the narrator's point-of view. The ending kind of just...peters out and you're left with no real sense of resolve.
Anne Goodwin
Imagine you’re out for a walk one weekend and see a young man swallow handful of pills and jump into the river. Without thinking – or perhaps even as a distraction from the torment of your failing marriage – you strip off your heavy coat and plunge into the river to save him. Much later, after the ambulance has driven him away and you’ve sloughed off the river’s mud in a hot bath, you realise you’ve got the young man’s coat and, more to the point, he’s got yours, with a set of spare house keys i ...more
This had some interesting parts, but the way it just sort of trailed off left me disappointed.
Jan 24, 2010 Felicity rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Felicity by: School text.
Read this for my Year 12 English text. Didn't enjoy it like everyone else seemed to.
JS Found
There be spoilers

Beautifully written but a feint. You think it's going to be the conventional story of a murderer psychologically worming his way into the life of the man who sent him to prison, so that he can enact his revenge. But late in this slim tale, that's not what happens. I don't know whether to be pleased Barker didn't complete the cliche or disappointed that she set it up so well as the cliche. Unfortunately, Barker didn't make her child murderer, now grown up, into a full person--he'
My rating is closer to 3½ stars -- I really liked Barker's writing style and enjoyed several elements of the book, and I'm a sucker for stories about people who are nearly psychopaths but don't want to be, so the Danny character was the element that worked best for me. But overall the novel felt like an early draft of something that could have been much better.

I am always hardest on books that I like but don't love, because I want to figure out why they didn't work for me. Thus, a review in whi
I had to sit down after reading this book and seriously think about what the title meant because there aren't any obvious borders in the book.

There are lots of boundaries though, and I suppose a book called Crossing Boundaries would sound too sociological to be a novel, so she chose the word "border" instead. But it made me have to think long and hard about what the title meant.

I liked Barker's Regeneration and The Eye in the Door (still haven't read Ghost Road) but this novel is very different.
Triv S.
This was one of the many books I had to read for school this year and I was surprised to find that I didn't hate it. Towards the end I actually stayed up into the early hours of the morning to read what happened because I was so compelled. Too bad the ending was an anti-climax...

I guess there's always going to be a level of enjoyment when I initally thought this was literally about crossing borders. You know, refugees and stuff. I was so not looking forward to writing my six thousandth essay on
Pat Barker is one of my favorite writers, but this book didn't seem as strong to me as the others of hers that I have read. It's about a boy who kills an old woman when he is very young and then when he finally gets out of the institution he meets up with the shrink who helped put him away. The shrink being the one who attested that said boy knew (morally speaking) what he was doing when he killed the old woman. Sounds gory and depressing but I didn' find it so. Although I made certain I read ke ...more
Herb Hastings
This is a taut well written novel. Others have summarized the plot, let me just add; there are no car chases or gunshots but Pat Barker skillfully builds the tension and keeps you guessing not just what will happen next but what exactly is one of the characters up to. The author avoids the usual thriller tropes and produces a clever,well above average novel.
Impressed by Barker's "Regeneration" trilogy, I picked up this book and dove in. It reads like a Jonathan Kellerman novel but with better quality writing and less action. She has a good understanding of psychotherapy and the sometimes dicey position psychologists are faced with in setting boundaries with clients.
A fairly short novel of just over 200 pages, but I found it extremely hard to put down. There are some really important issues addressed within the story - mainly centred on how and why a 10 year old child becomes a murderer. Can he be returned to society, can he live normally and will he ever face up to his crimes and can he avoid the media?

This is not a crime thriller, but is still a thrilling read. The relationship between Tom - the child psychologist and Danny, the young man recently release
Louise Krupski
This book is bleak and hopeful at the same time an art which Pat Barker seems to have an incredible talent for. A very British book written in beautiful prose which takes it's time with small human encounters and vast scenery - moving and beautiful.
Pat Barker seems to enjoy exploring interesting and absorbing territory.

In this book she examines the mind and motives of a convicted killer, but this one just happens to be 10 years old. Danny has served his time and is back in society, but is not managing his life very well. He takes drastic action to become re-united with the child psychologist who made the original assessment of his mental condition after the murder.

Together, they start to unpick the circumstances that led to the killing, an
WOW!! What a great book! Not cut-and-dried "happily ever after" here; well, not exactly. The main character is a child psychologist whose testimony about the mental state of a boy sends him to prison for the murder of a neighbor. The boy was 10, but fast-forward to the beginning of this book--about a decade later?--and he's been released and given a new identity so as to re-enter society. Did he know what he was doing and was he responsible for his neighbor's death? Can a 10-year-old reason that ...more
The novel is about a psychologist who, in the midst of his own divorce, meets up with a young man who he had evaluated and testified against years before.

The disintegration of the marriage feels so real that it was painful to read. Shadowed in the background was recent death the main character's father and a recurring image from a dream: love is a rabbit running among tombstones.

At the same time, he is dealing with this former quasi-patient. A corrosive personality who epitomizes the concept of
A subtle book of tension, sadness, mystery and revelation. Things aren't what they seem, but other things are clearly visible. Not everything is explained by the end, and the book benefits from it. A good read that will leave you exhausted with tension. Which is a good thing.
Started reading this last Saturday , and sadly it didn't hold my attention much.
The characters weren't very defined and that put me off. It's the first time I've ever been bored by a Pat Barker book.
Different to the Regeneration Trilogy in it's setting 'Border Crossing' explores similar themes in what it means to kill someone while drawing on her earlier novels as well. It raises important questions about the nature of good, evil and responsibility, when is a child old enough to understand the consequences of their actions? Although I was intrigued by the plot I struggled to relate to any of the characters, Tom seemed bland in many cases and Danny is an uncertain character, you're not sure ...more
I found this a bit creepy - possibly because I am related to a couple of creepy males who scare me. They certainly can be intelligent and make you want to believe them.
This was quite a quick and easy read on a very difficult subject, about a 10 year old murderer reunited 15 years later with the psychologist whose evidence in court led to his conviction, exploring issues around motive, punishment and rehabilitation of the offender and the impact that the event had subsequently on the life of the expert witness.

Enjoyable, although at the end it did feel to me a bit rushed and incomplete, stopping some way short from the opportunity of being a page turning psycho
mrcurly Mrcurly
Simple but interesting psychology. Good easy read for Dave Willshire to balance all his heavy books.
Barker’s insightful novel traces the relationship between Danny, a young man who was convicted for a murder he committed as a child, and Tom Seymour, the psychologist whose evidence was crucial to his sentencing. The author has provided the reader with an abused psychopath whose charm and guile mask a web of deceit and seduce those who come within his orbit. In bringing this pyromaniac back into contact with the individual who ascertained the level of consciousness behind his crime, Barker is ab ...more
Frangipani Marigold
Well written as always - a bit do much of a psychological thriller for my taste.
Tightly written, very compelling, not predictable. Memorable characters.
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Pat Barker was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in 1943. She was educated at the London School of Economics and has been a teacher of history and politics.

Her books include the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy Regeneration ; The Eye in the Door , winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize; and The Ghost Road , winner of the Booker Prize; as well as seven other novels. Pat Barker is married and lives in Du
More about Pat Barker...
Regeneration (Regeneration, #1) The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3) The Eye in the Door (Regeneration, #2) Toby's Room Life Class

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