The Ghost Road | Critical Essay by Paul Levy

This literature criticism consists of approximately 1 page of analysis & critique of The Ghost Road.
This section contains 258 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Paul Levy

Critical Essay by Paul Levy

SOURCE: "Pat Barker Wins Booker Prize," in The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 1995, p. A20.

Below, Levy remarks on the awarding of the Booker Prize to The Ghost Road and criticizes the novel as anachronistic.

The Booker Prize jury has added insult to the ayatollahs' injury, cheating Salman Rushdie of the £20,000 ($31,600) 1995 Booker Prize for Fiction. In its 27th year, Britain's most celebrated (though no longer richest) award for a book has been given to Pat Barker for her The Ghost Road, which this year's Booker chairman, George Walden, praised faintly as "clear, hard prose." Following the heavily applauded announcement, several jubilant commentators said it was about time that a woman won again….

Ms. Barker's The Ghost Road is the final part of her World War I trilogy, in which she successfully mixes fictional characters with historical ones such as W.H.R. Rivers, the army psychologist who pioneered the concept of shell shock, and the poet Wilfred Owen. She does this without meretriciousness, unlike, for example, E.L. Doctorow. But the book is full of anachronism—one of her characters calls the western front "a wanker's paradise" though this term for masturbation wasn't current until the next war or even later. And its attitudes are anachronistic, especially the author's toleration and even approval of homoeroticism. Is this on purpose—an enlightened present-day view of past events—or has Ms. Barker lost control of her material? The judges evidently gave her the benefit of the doubt and I am eager to read the first two volumes and be proved wrong.

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This section contains 258 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Paul Levy
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