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The War Zone

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  177 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Dragged from the evil influences he enjoyed in London when his family decide to move to Devon, a young boy stumbles on violence of another kind when he spies on his father and his sister sharing an intimate bath. As his obsession with the relationship grows, so does the need to end it.
Paperback, 232 pages
Published October 12th 1994 by Vintage (first published 1989)
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(showing 1-30)
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Paul Bryant
Jul 30, 2016 Paul Bryant rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
Viciously snarlingly howlingly apocalyptically narrated by Tom who’s about 15 or so, this is a story of father daughter incest. First he suspects, then he snoops, then he badgers a confession out of his sister, her being Jessie, who’s around 18 I guess. The story moves forward in a series of perhaps six set-piece scenes, some of which work perfectly well, and one of which puts the reader in a position where they are trying to figure out who’s actually doing what to who and if so how (a sex scene ...more
Alexander Chow-stuart
I wrote it, so I think my opinion may be a little biased.

Many thanks to Claire, Omar and Harlan, who liked these few words regarding my opinion. I am equally fascinated by the passionate dislike of the book by some readers. No one has ever written to me criticizing the book over the years, or told me that they hated it to my face, so it is enlightening to read different responses.

Whether you liked it or not, I thank you for reading it - even if you wish you hadn't!


I just came upon this pa
Jul 31, 2016 Tia rated it did not like it
I read this a few months ago, but forgot to review it. I just saw it on my kindle and remembered how awful it was. To be clear: this is INCEST EROTICA. I wish I would've known that going into it, but the blurb doesn't portray it that way.

There was incest in my own family. It's the most horrible thing that can possibly happen to anyone, worse than losing a loved one through death. It is emotionally damaging to people for generations after it occurs, handing down dysfunction like genes. I thought
Jan 12, 2010 Jef rated it really liked it
not for the faint-hearted. like an accident - hard to look at and hard to ignore. a slim volume that's difficult to get through, at points. basis for the film, which is just as difficult/compelling to watch, if not more so.
Oct 20, 2008 Lily rated it really liked it
Haunting, disturbing novel about a teenage boy's obsession with his older sister after he discovers she is having an incestuous relationship with their father. Well written, set in England, and scenes of graphic sex.
Nath Alie
Jan 01, 2014 Nath Alie rated it it was amazing
a Masterpiece, a must read (and must see, movie directed by Tim Roth).
Grateful eternely for the wz, grateful eternely to each person who worked for the book and for the movie. Its amazing the impact of the WZ even after more than 20yrs the book has been written, that every day several of us Survivors support each other to fight against our dark passenger to not let him control our life.
Abuses happen more often than people could imagine. Here the last image of the movie, perfect to represent it:
Aug 28, 2008 Rebecca rated it did not like it
This book was horrible. I got it from a friend who didn't finish it, and now I know why. I read about half, skimmed the rest, stopped and read when I saw somebody was getting peed on, decided I could have lived the rest of my life quite nicely NOT having read that, and then fast forwarded to the end. I'm sure I missed a lot of plot by not reading the last half, but at least my soul didn't suffer. The writing is slow, plodding, methodical, and doesn't sound or feel like the voice of a troubled ...more
Mark Freeman
Jul 21, 2010 Mark Freeman rated it it was amazing
I have read this so many times. The protagonist is the same age as me and the setting and time period is recognisable in a way that Holden Caulfield never could be. I haven't experienced the events though, I'm an only child!
Jul 21, 2008 Autumn rated it really liked it
Recommended to Autumn by: Tim Roth
Shelves: 母親, 父親
The climax was over the top, and the dénouement was foolish; but otherwise, this was a really well written book. Heavy in ways you don't expect, and moments of clear beauty.
Jan 25, 2012 Lochlan rated it it was amazing
well this was a barrel of laughs - recommended though
Apr 28, 2012 Matt rated it it was amazing
Fascinating story. I centred my dissertation on this gripping novel.
Novi Wijaya
May 14, 2014 Novi Wijaya rated it liked it
Not for the faint-hearted.
I'm drawn by the writing, repulsed by the plot. As a subject, I think there's little uglier than incest, but the writing of The War Zone made it interesting.

At the end of it though, I still don't get what motivated Jessie. Is she just a regular sociopath/psychopath/narcissist (clearly I don't know any psychology), doing outrageous things to amuse herself, see how far she can push the boundaries?
Jun 15, 2016 Alan rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
1992 notebook: (SPOILER ALERT) compelling, provoking, nasty. Doing people in, hurting them, twisting under a chemical sky, a bedroom in Brixton. The writing is florid, appropriately, but I feel when it gets to London it goes over, and at the climax involving stabbing his dad, his sister living with an elderly Nazi architect and his mistress, I think, no.
Jun 08, 2016 LWoods rated it liked it
I don't typically write reviews, unless truly moved to. I read this several years ago, when it first came out int the UK. It haunted me for years, and still does sometimes. Dark, but extremely well written.
Maheen EVHS Jawaid
May 20, 2015 Maheen EVHS Jawaid rated it it was amazing
This book was really haunting and disturbing. It was sort of difficult to get through the book. It was gruesome at many points in the book.
Valle Wigers
Valle Wigers rated it really liked it
Jul 07, 2013
Lehcar rated it it was amazing
May 31, 2014
Mr. King
Mr. King rated it liked it
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May 03, 2012
C Baker
C Baker rated it did not like it
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ultraviolet rated it it was amazing
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Lawrence Newman
Lawrence Newman rated it it was amazing
Jan 17, 2008
Pia rated it it was amazing
Dec 01, 2010
Karlijn rated it it was amazing
Mar 02, 2014
Claire Decock
Claire Decock rated it really liked it
Jun 07, 2011
Mark Gallacher
Mark Gallacher rated it really liked it
Jul 14, 2013
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