Praise for Toby's Room: "Barker...has pursued [World War I] through a remarkable series of novels: the much-admired "Regeneration" trilogy...Life Class and now Toby's Room.... [T]hese novels go far beyond a demonstration of the powers of the historical imagination. Like most good works of fiction, theyre not so much about the events they depict as about the resonance of those events, the way certain actions ripple through peoples lives.... Toby's Room takes large risks. Its dark, painful and indelibly grotesque, yet it is also tender. It strains its own narrative control to create in the midst of an ordinary life a kind of deformed realityprecisely to illustrate how everything we call ordinary is disfigured by war. And it succeeds brilliantly." John Vernon, New York Times Book Review "[T]he writing is lucid and often beautiful."Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly "A tantalizing and moving return to wartime London."Joanna Scutts, Washington Post "You get a glimpse inside Tobys room in Pat Barkers poignant novel of the same name, but what you remember are three real and very different English landmarks the Slade, Londons prestigious art academy; Cafe Royal, frequented by the likes of Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill and Virginia Woolf; and the Queens Hospital, opened in 1917 to serve injured British soldiers in need of facial reconstruction.... No one evokes England in all its stiff-upper-lip gritty wartime privation like Barker. She is as uncompromising as Henry Tonks, as determined to render an honest portrayal of war. She will not allow us to sweep it out of sight.... [She] sets the bar high."Ellen Kanner, Miami Herald "Haunting and complicated sibling love is at the heart of Pat Barker's Great War novel.... [T]he precision of Ms. Barker's writing shows her again to be one of the finest chroniclers of both the physical and psychological disfigurements exacted by the First World War."Wall Street Journal "Barker deftly fused fact and fiction in her hugely impressive "Regeneration Trilogy" by turning the war poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen into integral characters. She continues this blending in Toby's Room.... [It] is in many ways Barker's most ambitious novel to date.... As ever, the war scenes, and the accounts of the broken men who inhabit them, are, by turn, gripping and unsettling. However, in with the carnage and the trauma are those expert passages on art as something both reflective and redemptive. This is a powerful book that chronicles in various ingenious ways, and from certain unique perspectives, 'the poignancy of a young life cut short.'"Malcolm Forbes, San Francisco Chronicle "A Pat Barker novelis a novel that deals in some way with the horrors of World War One, and its a also a novel about art, but mostly its a novel about how art attempts to depict the horrors of World War One. And this is how a Pat Barker novel attempts to depict the horrors of World War One: bluntly."Brock Clark, Boston Globe "[A]lthough Tobys Room is not billed as a prequel or sequel to Life Class and the reader need not be familiar with that novel in order to get to grips with this... [t]hose who do know Barkers previous work will be struck by recurrences and continuations in this novel not only of events in Life Class, but in Regeneration, too.... [Barker's] prose remains fresh, humanely business-like, crisp and unsentimental. Images are scrupulously vivid, and the plot has real momentum."Freya Johnston, Telegraph (London) "A driving storyline and a clear eye, steadily facing the history of our world.... For Barker, the wounded faces of the soldier-victims are realities, and also emblems of what must never be forgotten or evaded about war, and must continue in her plain, steady, co
Pat Barker was born in Yorkshire and began her literary career in her forties, when she took a short writing course taught by Angela Carter. Encouraged by Carter to continue writing, she sent her fiction out. Thirty-five years later, she has published sixteen novels, including her masterful Regeneration Trilogy, been made a CBE for services to literature, and won the UK's highest literary honour, the Booker Prize. Her last novel, The Silence of the Girls, began the story of Briseis, the forgotten woman at the heart of one of the most famous war epics ever told. It was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction, the Costa Novel Award and the Gordon Burn Prize, and won an Independent Bookshop Award 2019. The Women of Troy continues that story. Pat Barker lives in Durham.