The third volume of Pat Barker’s trilogy, which follows the fortunes of shell-shocked British army officers towards the end of the First World War.

In 1918, Billy Prior experiences a late-summer idyll, some days of perfect beauty, before the final battles in a war that has destroyed most of his generation. In London, Prior’s psychologist, William Rivers, tends to his new patients, more young men whose lives and minds have been shattered. And remembers the primitive society on Eddystone Island where he studied as an anthropologist before the war.

Winner
The Booker Prize 1995
Published by
Viking
Publication date
Pat Barker

Pat Barker

About the Author

Pat Barker was born in Yorkshire and began her literary career in her 40s, after taking a short writing course taught by Angela Carter.
More about Pat Barker

While Ms. Barker is meticulously true to both the military and personal aspects of her history, she is never constrained by her sources

Listen to an extract from The Ghost Road

Actor Paul McGann reads the audiobook of Pat Barker’s The Ghost Road.

The Ghost Road audiobook cover on an orange background

Hilary Mantel and Pat Barker in conversation

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Booker Prize, Hilary Mantel and Pat Barker appeared at Southbank Centre, in conversation with James Naughtie, to talk about rewriting the past.

Hilary Mantel, James Naughtie and Pat Barker

The winning moment

Pat Barker’s The Ghost Road was chosen from 141 novels submitted for the prize in 1995, a record at the time.

The shortlist that year consisted of five novels, rather than the customary six. It was, said chair of judges George Walden in his speech at the ceremony, ‘no reflection on the quality of entrants… All it shows is that we differed strongly on what that sixth book should be.’

Walden described The Ghost Road as Barker’s last book in her ‘imposing trilogy’ about the First World War.

Accepting the award, Barker said: ‘Most of all I want to thank the other writers for the very friendly and supportive attitude, which has been shown by everybody throughout. But even more than the friendly and supportive attitude, I want to thank them for having written such wonderful books.’