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Friday, June 08, 2018

Another World (1998) by Pat Barker

Book Review
Another World (1998)
by Pat Barker

  Pat Barker was fresh off her Booker Prize win (1995 for The Ghost Road, the last book in her Regeneration trilogy about the impact of World War I on soldiers and those who cared for them.)  Any thorough evaluation of Barker's career will have to wait years, decades perhaps, since she is still publishing, at a pacer of one new novel every three years.  Unlike the historical fiction of the Regeneration trilogy, Another World is a work of domestic fiction, about a "blended family" of middle class English living in the suburbs in the late 20th century.

  Another World closely resembles decades of literary fiction on both sides of the Atlantic.  English, Canadian, American and African analogues comes to mind, when it comes to depicting the dissatisfactions of modern life as experience by relatively well off white people living in the present or former United Kingdom.   The major theme in this particular book is that of the "bad child," a child whose unexplained bad behavior effectively ruins the lives of the parents.   There is never any reasons for it, certainly not something the parent protagonists did.

 For my money, it is pretty tedious stuff. I know being a parent is hard, even though I'm not one.  I know it from listening to my own parents, my friends, etc.  Popular culture, the media, social media, newspapers, yes, I get it, it is hard to be a parent, hard to be a mom, hard to be a dad.  Show me a book where that isn't the case, that would be interesting to me.

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