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