Sandra Noel's Reviews > Toby's Room

Toby's Room by Pat Barker
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's review
Sep 03, 2012

liked it
Read from July 18 to September 03, 2012


That being said, overall, this is an interesting read. It was quite well written and I appreciated the author's attention to historical detail.

Set briefly in pre-World War I days, Elinor and Toby's relationship, as well as Elinor's relationship with herself, her identity as an artist, and her vision of herself as an independent woman are introduced. There is some strangeness here and some abrupt action that I never really resolved in my mind, but that could just be me.

The War as an event is skipped altogether to explore its outcomes on multiple levels for Elinor and the other survivors, all of whom have physical reminders of the War to End All Wars. The change in all of the characters is revealed through actions without a great deal of narration.

This novel is a novel of action and inaction, with twists and turns in characters that allow the reader find his or her own focus. It is a veritable cornucopia of thematic matter. I wish it didn't so strongly resemble Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room, since that was a consistent comparison for me. If you haven't read the Woolf piece, that probably won't be an issue.

All in all, it is a good read. The story flows, the language is clear, and there are big ideas. I only wish the ideas had all come to a coherent climax, but then again, life is not like that.


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Reading Progress

07/18/2012 "Won this as an ARC from Goodreads. Can't wait to get into it."

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