Books March 2001

New & Noteworthy

More

In her ninth novel Pat Barker, who searingly depicted World War I and its psychological casualties in the Regeneration trilogy, again explores the uses—and the illusions—of professional detachment along with the question of whether the rational can cope with the ugliest of realities. Much as she sculpted her trenches with bones sticking out of the mud and corpses propping up walls, in Border Crossing she evokes the smoke, the staleness, and the insecurity of probation offices and remand centers. As the protagonist, Tom Seymour, a psychiatrist, teases out the history of his patient Danny (or is Danny doing all the teasing?), Barker creates a sense of menace worthy of Ian McEwan.

Barker has far more faith in drama and image than in assertion. The reader is grateful whenever she offers any alleviating comedy. When Tom visits Danny's old writing teacher, he is forced to attend a mortifying literary evening: "Expecting a literary lion (male), obliged to make do with one small tabby cat (female), the groupies sank deeper into the sofa, a single, disgruntled heap." One character in Regeneration says with a laugh, "You want perception, you go to a novelist, not a psychiatrist." Border Crossing is replete with sharp, expressive exchanges, hard poetry, and as many enigmas as implacable truths.

Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In