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Another World (2000)

Another World (2000)

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3.43 of 5 Votes: 2
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0312203977 (ISBN13: 9780312203979)

About book Another World (2000)

I seem to be on a quest for awkward books, as right after finishing Cunningham's "A Home at the End of the World" I have stumbled upon "Another World" by Pat Barker. I was feeling hungry for another book of Barker's, as almost two years have passed after I finished the "Regeneration" trilogy. It fascinated me at that time in so many senses, that I was a bit afraid of reading another book by Barker, lest it should disappoint me. "Another World" did not disappoint me at all and I believe now, was the right book to follow the trilogy. The action of "Another World" takes place in our time and revolves around a family, whose main characters are a university professor Nick and his grandfather Geordie, a 101 years old veteran of WWI. There are a lot of other characters who are important, and at the same time they remain somewhat in the background: not fully developed, not fully understood. I feel that the author wanted them to remain this way, getting the book to closer resemble real life. When I think about Geordie, I try to imagine the characters from "Regeneration" living in our time and society, and I fail. But there he is, a living fossil, a relic from the times of the World War I, placed in our days. One of the main themes Barker analyses is memory. Geordie's traumatic war memories are suddenly becoming stronger as he is getting closer to his deathbed. Throughout the book and its different characters Barker questions the consistency and permanence of our memory, suggesting that it may be malleable instead, changing and adapting together with the environment and perceptions of other people.Another topic Barker skillfully analyses, and which I found uncomfortable and at the same time captivating, is death. I had a feeling that no detail, no dismaying aspect of it has escaped the author's eye. Reading the passages of the book was difficult at times, as it brought to surface some related memories of my own, but it also brought me closer to the story and its characters. A really great book, recommended to those who are not afraid of being lead out of their comfort zone.

I got gripped by the story of this dysfunctional family moving into a new house, which appeared to be haunted by the past. During decorating they uncovered an old drawing of the previous family – the Fanshawes. This family appeared to mirror their own and the past began to haunt Nick, Fran and their children. The suspense is only heightened as Nick begins to uncover a sinister past attached to the Fanshawe’s while his own family begin to turn against each other. Could this be the past coming back to haunt them?Then all of a sudden the excitement seemed to be lost; this enthralling story was never properly returned to and it became a less dramatic, but nevertheless touching, account of the death of Nick’s grandfather Geordie. During Geordie’s slow decline he is plagued by the past and his memories of the trenches of WWI, including the death of his brother.The characters are really well rounded and their relationships rich. From the squabbling half siblings to Nick and Geordie’s interactions you could really feel each emotion, from awkwardness to pure love.It is thought-provoking in the sense of how things are remembered by people who have suffered trauma and it is so open, and sometimes perhaps a little uncomfortably descriptive, of the last days of Geordie’s life and how family cope with death.My only gripe with the book is that so many things were left unanswered. I suppose Barker was going for an overall sense of how the past can affect the living, but it hinted at ghosts, there was a traumatised boy who nearly killed his little brother and many more issues that were just brushed under the carpet. I felt a bit let down by the ending. Three stars for the characterisation, relationships and descriptive writing style but I would probably drop it to two for satisfaction on finishing it.

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This is the first book by Pat Barker I have read, but it won't be the last. Okay...this book took ME FOREVER to read! Not because it was extremely long or anything, it was me. You know those stories that you should be interested in and normally you are, but you just arn't? This book was that book for me. A nice family drama mixed in with historical bits is usually right up my alley, but for some reason I didn't really care much about these people. Perhaps it was because I couldn't connect with them. I only cared about Gordie, the grandad who was dying. I felt horrible for him! Poor guy. He survived WWI and a stab to the gut from a bayonet. He survived cancer. However, in the end he had a stroke and had to live in misery the last few weeks of his life. Throughout the story while grandad is suffering from his troubled past and side-effects of the stroke, Nick and his family are being all butts and selfish. I just didn't care about Nick and his little family of drama-kings and drama-queens.After reading some other reviews, I guess the struggles of the family was suppose to somehow connect with grandad's WWI past. I guess I missed it. I have no idea. I really wished that the story was revolved around grandad more. Don't get me wrong...I loved Pat Barker's writing and I can't wait to read another of her books, but this was not the tale for me. I wouldn't really recommend this book to others, but I would suggest reading one of her other books. She's a wonderful author! She has great potential! There isn't much else to say and I feel bad that my review is relatively short. Oh well. Out of five stars I grant this one 1 star. :( Favorite Character(s): Gordie/GrandadNot-so Favorite Character(s): everyone else.
—Carole Rae

I quite enjoyed this book and warmed to the characters. However I did find that there were parts which could have been further developed, you were sort of left hanging. For example, the bullying episodes – would sending Gareth off to granny do the trick? And what about Barbara in the looney bin? Then, there was the ghost thing, what was that all about? Was there a ghost? What was the point of it? Did it have something to do with an idea of slipping in and out of time – different moments in time?There were some very good one-liners, although these too were somehow never developed i.e. p.9 … Barbara coming in from the garden…. He [Nick:] and Miranda exchanged glances, in it together. And then, less than a year later, he moved out and Miranda realized that while she was in it for life, he was merely in it for the duration of the marriage.p. 73 … If, as Nick believed you should go to the past, looking not for messages or warnings, but simply to be humbled by the weight of human experience that has preceded the brief flicker of your own few days…p. 87 The only true or useful thing that can be said about the past is that it’s over. p. 232 The fact is that birth and death both go on too long for those who watch beside the bed. The appropriate emotions dry up.I think one of the parts I enjoyed most was when Nick and Geordie go off to visit the cemetary. I enjoyed their relationship.

Alrightish, but nothing special. I really loved Barker's 'Regeneration', but wasn't too keen on 'The Eye in the Door' since main character Billy Prior didn't interest me as much as Sassoon and Owen. I thought I'd pick this one up since it seemed to be dealing with trauma, memory, things like that. While those themes are brought into the narrative, they aren't explored as much as in the Regeneration-books. There are some other interesting themes here (moving forward, bullying, family relationships), but as some other reviewers pointed out the story just doesn't seem to add up. The different things going on aren't really connected (besides all happening in the vicinity of the main character) and the ending felt a bit unsatisfying. Still, it's a nice enough book. It's well-written, has some good characters (Geordie in particular) and is entertaining enough. However, I feel it would've been better if a few things, most notably the character development of Gareth and the ghostly girl, had been woven more tightly into the story.

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