Giedre's Reviews > The Ghost Road

The Ghost Road by Pat Barker
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Jul 05, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: booker-winners, my-very-best, lgbt, war, british, historical-fiction, selected, wwi, unforgettable-characters, fiction-about-science-and-knowlege, trauma, 20th-century, 1990s
Read from July 05 to 09, 2012

I have just finished the book today and I have to say that it totally blew me away.

The third book of the trilogy centers mostly on two of all the characters who were present in the previous books, Rivers and Prior. Throughout the books the characters are developed into vivid, compelling, independent personalities. You can almost feel you knew them in real life after you finish the trilogy, they are so real, so well-developed.

Prior, as a character, shows all of his sides. He's witty, intelligent, brave, and at the same time neurotic, sadistic, unscrupulous, and you still can't avoid finding him really likable, probably because he's so close to what we all are, he's so humane. No perfect hero, but most of the times even painfully familiar, reminding us about our own flaws.

I could definitely continue, but I will round up just by saying that "The Ghost Road" accompanied by the previous two books in the trilogy has definitely won a place in the very top list of my favourite books.
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Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by Robin (new)

Robin Khan Couldn't have put it better myself. So I wont. :)


Giedre Thank you so much for your kind comment, Robin! Hope you enjoyed the trilogy as much as I did.


message 3: by Soumen (last edited Jul 10, 2015 10:57AM) (new)

Soumen Daschoudhury You can almost feel you knew them in real life after you finish the trilogy, they are so real, so well-developed.

That's the wonderful thing about great writers and great books. Nice review, Giedre!


message 4: by Robin (new)

Robin Khan Giedre wrote: "Thank you so much for your kind comment, Robin! Hope you enjoyed the trilogy as much as I did."

Giedre wrote: "Thank you so much for your kind comment, Robin! Hope you enjoyed the trilogy as much as I did."

Soumen wrote: "You can almost feel you knew them in real life after you finish the trilogy, they are so real, so well-developed.

That's the wonderful thing about great writers and great books. Nice review, Giedre!"


Giedre wrote: "Thank you so much for your kind comment, Robin! Hope you enjoyed the trilogy as much as I did."
I'm sure I will, Giedre, unless I accidently fall off Big Ben, or now known as the Elizabeth II Tower. I guess not even the great poets as Owen and Sassoon et al could possibly capture the sheer horror, the pointless slaughter, the despair nor the helpless anger of that war. But they, like this trilogy, must come pretty close. 'Lions led by donkeys' actually a quote by a brit MP Alan Clarke, but about some it up for me. And the darkly humerous Blackadder, of course :) I think I will read in bits, with a little Wodehouse between pauses, lest I decide to deliberately throw myself off the Tower. One cannot allow too much darkness in to life without humour and chocolate cake. Cheers, mate.


Giedre Soumen wrote: "You can almost feel you knew them in real life after you finish the trilogy, they are so real, so well-developed.

That's the wonderful thing about great writers and great books. Nice review, Giedre!"


Thank you for visiting, Soumen! Always happy to read a comment of yours here!


Giedre Robin wrote: "Giedre wrote: "Thank you so much for your kind comment, Robin! Hope you enjoyed the trilogy as much as I did."

Giedre wrote: "Thank you so much for your kind comment, Robin! Hope you enjoyed the t..."


Do share your thoughts when you finish, Robin. Would love to hear (or rather read) your opinion, as Barker's trilogy is on the very top of the list of my favourite books. And do keep away from towers, bridges and other high places while reading it!


message 7: by Robin (new)

Robin Khan Half way through The Ghost Road and agree regarding your opinion in respect of the Billy Prior character. I found him someone ahead of his time and refused to 'doff his cap' to anyone, rich or poor. People who disagree have to remember the time period. if it were this day and age I suppose Billy would be presumed to have a 'death wish' and fed up with the hypocrisy of it all. There's a scene in Blackadder when Blackadder is pointer out to that oaf General Melchett the land they had captured and Melchett gazes at what he presumes to be a model (about two feet by two) feet of the battlefield of the Somme and says something like, " Good God, Blackadder, excellent model of the battlefield, what scale is it? " And Blackadder replies " " ..er 1:1, Sir. This IS the catual land we captured , taken from the battlefield..." But, listen, I will most definitely eat choccy cake, I mean share my thoughts while avoiding Tower Bridge and such places 'till I have eaten the book, I mean read the book...all this eating, I feel hungry. Talk soon :)


message 8: by Robin (new)

Robin Khan Giedre wrote: "Robin wrote: "Giedre wrote: "Thank you so much for your kind comment, Robin! Hope you enjoyed the trilogy as much as I did."

Giedre wrote: "Thank you so much for your kind comment, Robin! Hope you..."

Just finished The Ghost Road, Geidre and, yes, a very haunting trilogy. Everything you said hits the nail on the head and I thank you for that :) Now, I will read again one of my favourites: One Hundred Years of Solitude to bring a smile to my face after the trilogy. :)


Giedre Robin wrote: "Giedre wrote: "Robin wrote: "Giedre wrote: "Thank you so much for your kind comment, Robin! Hope you enjoyed the trilogy as much as I did."

Giedre wrote: "Thank you so much for your kind comment, ..."


Robin, thank you so much for sharing your musings while reading "The Ghost Road" and then after finishing it! I loved the quote from Blackadder you shared. I haven't watched the series, but it seems that I should give it a try one day. The thing is that I'm not a fan of comedies, although I like English humour, if that is a possible combination at all :)
I am really glad that my humble thoughts about Prior as a character and the trilogy itself resonated with you. I would re-read this one many times, if I wouldn't be aware of the pressure of time and the limited number of books I can get to read in the time that I have. Hope the smile is back on your face already!


message 10: by Robin (new)

Robin Khan Geidre, thank you for such a detailed reply, enjoyable, too :) Blackadder Three is what I term 'dark comedy'. Laugh and loud and hilarious but with a serious meaning, effectively that that particular war (and most wars) are futile and generally run by oafs; that nothing in this world justifies such slaughter. The book Catch 22 had a similar effect about the Korean war, a classic that if you haven't read it I do suggest. The lead character, Yossarian, is already an anti hero of my nature; " He doesn't want to die and he'll die trying not to." :) Your thoughts on Prior were not humble but astute, you are too modest! :)I'm currently reading the best of P G Wodehouse. I made the mistake of reading it on the underground train: sitting there guffawing like alunatic (which I usually do anyway-book or no book) tends to render people to move a very large distance away from you and at the next stop, to disappear altogether. It's guaranteed to get you a carriage all to yourself. But these are short stores and enjoyable in bits. I have been determined for years to read Emile Zola's 'Germinal'. I will begin next week, then Steinbeck's East of Eden ('though Cannery Row is my favourite of his along with 'Of Mice and Men'). I read anything, really: thrillers, classics, (old and new)comedy, biographies etc etc. Then I eat chocolate cake and annoy people. A pleasure chatting again and when you have time let me now your next 'reading project'. :) Ta ta for now, matey. P.S. There is ALWAYS 'time'. :)


Giedre Robin wrote: "Geidre, thank you for such a detailed reply, enjoyable, too :) Blackadder Three is what I term 'dark comedy'. Laugh and loud and hilarious but with a serious meaning, effectively that that particul..."

I haven't yet read Catch 22, so it goes straight to my to-read list now. It's one of these books that I keep hearing about since ages, and I think that the time has come to finally read it.
Actually "Of Mice and Men" is my favourite of Steinbeck's as well, but I must admit that I have only read "East of Eden" apart from it, so it was not so difficult to make the choice :) I will be looking forward to reading your thoughts on "East of Eden" when you get to read it.
At the moment I'm reading more of Barker's, namely "Toby's Room", which is a sequel to "Life Class I had just finished recently. These two are probably not on a par to the trilogy, but I am really loving "Toby's Room". It's also about WWI, which is one of my weaknesses in books.


message 12: by Robin (new)

Robin Khan If you wish to read a factual book with a twist on World War One please put on your list. You can look it up on Goodreads. It's called The Fateful year-England 1914 by Mark Bostridge. I accidently spotted it in the library today (while concentrating on something else). It's about that year that began in peace and ended in war. And during that year the author lists other seemingly ordinary or extraordinary events of peoples' lives during that year as the country judders fatefully toward that terrible war. I will read it this week and perhaps compare notes after your have gone through your vast array of other to-do reads :)I thought of you when I saw it and thought 'Ah, I'm sure the Lady G will enjoy this'. :)


message 13: by Robin (new)

Robin Khan I don't know if you have read Birdsong by Sebastian Foulkes but that happens to be my favourite work of fiction (factual)about World War I. Very moving and beautifully written. Just to let you know :) Hope you are well. Keep eating chocolate cake.


Giedre Robin wrote: "I don't know if you have read Birdsong by Sebastian Foulkes but that happens to be my favourite work of fiction (factual)about World War I. Very moving and beautifully written. Just to let you know..."

Robin, thanks so much for remembering me and my interest in WWI. I haven't heard about "The Fateful Year: England 1914", but it looks right up my alley, so I'm adding it to my to-read list right away. It may take me some time to get to it, but eventually I will :) Do let me know your thoughts on it as well.
I have read Birdsong, and liked it as well, although probably Barker had raised my expectations very high, so everything I read after "Regeneration" seems a little bleak in comparison to her fiction. You can find my humble comment on it here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
I've just finished "Toby's Room" by Barker, and although I found it less poignant than "Regeneration", it was equally or more disturbing in some ways. Barker never fails in this aspect.
Good to hear from you, as always! Hope you're still eating chocolate cakes and keeping away from the bridges :)


message 15: by Robin (new)

Robin Khan Thanks, Geidre, I am honoured to be a friend on here! :) Yes, I suppose after reading Regeneration first anything after would appear mundane. Whereas I read Birdsong first (and twice since) so I go the other way :) Hee. The Fateful Year is good but really it's just snippets about England in that year and realtes to may things from the Suffragette movement to Irish Home Rule and many areas of British history I was a tad stupid on. It was interesting but not mindblowing. Still, all art: books, music, painting is subjective and one person's meat is another person's poison, as the saying goes. I'm totally off the war reading at the moment and reading the L.A. Quartet: The Black Dhalia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential and White Jazz by James Ellroy. If L.A. Confidential is as good as the movie then I'm in for a treat. The Black Dhalia is based on a murder mystery still unsolved though latest theory is the killer was an L.A police detective based on what his son recalls and paperwork found in his father's basement. So, Geidre, light reading for now :) My brain is about the size of an unhappy walnut so too much which provokes actual thought process tends to hurt it :) It exploded when I tried Ulysses by Joyce. Never again! I think I reached page 3 before throwing it from my flat window. I think it landed on a pigeon and killed it stone dead. I buried the pigeon and the book...with honours.Have a wonderful week and I will now go and read your comments by the link you gave. Your comments are always instructive and impressive but I can eat chocolate cake better ;). Chat again soon and please take care. I will stay away from bridges.


message 16: by Robin (new)

Robin Khan Just read your comment about Birdsong and it was very well explained and instructive for anyone new to the book. I disagreed with some but then I'm pretty dopey :) But really well critiqued - and , no, I am not being patronising before you start yelling at me and throwing things, unless it's choccy cake. Anyway, time for lunch so thanks again mon cher and see thee anon, I hope very much :) Ta ta for now.


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