The first major collection devoted to this important voice in British fiction
Critical Perspectives on Pat Barker brings together an international roster of scholars who pay detailed attention to the work and career of this prizewinning British writer, providing critical insight into each of her nine novels, from Union Street (1982) through the Regeneration trilogy (1991–95) to Double Vision (2003).
The eighteen essays in the volume are organized into five sections: "Writing Working-Class Women," "Dialogue under Pressure," "Men at War," "The Talking Cure," and "Regenerating the Wasteland." Taken individually, each of the essays yields a variety of insights into Barker's fictions; taken as a whole, the collection provides a fresh and timely overview of Barker's oeuvre and her creative exploration of society. The volume probes Barker's keenly historicized and yet topical preoccupations: the social and psychological ramifications of planned violence in war and random violence in British villages and cities, and the comforts and tensions in relationships, whether between men in war, women in postindustrial cities, or men and women in sex and marriage. The volume also dissects Barker's unflinching gaze on class, sex, murder, and psychosis, and her provocative and emotionally moving images. It includes an interview with the novelist, incorporates her observations on writing her most recent novel, Double Vision, in the aftermath of wars in Bosnia and Iraq, and explores the film adaptation of Regeneration. The volume also presents Sarah Daniels's dramatic adaptation of Barker's novel Blow Your House Down, which has been staged but has not previously appeared in print.
Sharon Monteith is a reader in the School of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham. She is the author of Advancing Sisterhood? Interracial Friendships in Contemporary Southern Fiction and Pat Barker and coauthor of Contemporary British and Irish Fiction. Monteith lives in Nottingham, England.
Margaretta Jolly is a lecturer in twentieth-century literature and culture in the School of English at the University of Exeter, where she specializes in life writing and gender studies. She is the editor of The Encyclopedia of Life Writing and Dear Laughing Motorbyke: Letters from Women Welders of the Second World War. Jolly lives in Exeter, England.
Nahem Yousaf lectures in English at Nottingham Trent University. He has published on South African, British, and American contemporary fiction. His books include Alex La Guma: Politics and Resistance, Chinua Achebe, and Apartheid Narratives. Yousaf lives in Nottingham.
Born and raised in the same region of England as Pat Barker, Ronald Paul is an associate professor of English at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. His primary field of research is British working-class literature, from the Chartist poets of the nineteenth century to present-day writers. His most recent books are Unruly Nations: A People's History of Britain and Dissonant Voices. He lives in Västra Frölunda, Sweden.
"A timely and provocative collection on one of England's most accomplished contemporary authors, Critical Perspectives on Pat Barker rewards our interest in a great writer by providing cogent criticism to match. After over two decades of creative endeavors that have garnered Barker numerous accolades and a Booker to boot, it is high time that academia takes a more sustained analysis of the range and nuance of her fiction, and this thoughtful volume offers us that opportunity."—Peter Hitchcock, author of Working Class Fiction in Theory and Practice: and Dialogics of the Oppressed
"This collection covers the full range of Barker's work and offers an impressive variety of theoretical approaches and a lively mix of criticism, dramatic adaptation, and dialogue with Barker herself. In its openness to a number of key thematic concerns—class, history, gender, violence and militarism, the psyche—and its consistently stimulating level of comment,this is the assessment for which Barker's work has been waiting."—Mary Eagleton, author of Working with Feminist Criticism and editor of A Concise Companion to Feminist Theory