by Pat Barker
Category: Fiction / General
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication date: 4 April 2002
Number of pages: 288
Border Crossing is Pat Barker's unflinching novel of darkness, evil and society. When Tom Seymour, a child psychologist, plunges into a river to save a young man from drowning, he unwittingly reopens a chapter from his past he'd hoped to forget. For Tom already knows Danny Miller. When Danny was ten Tom helped imprison him for the killing of an old woman. Now out of prison with a new identity, Danny has some questions - questions he thinks only Tom can answer. Reluctantly, Tom is drawn back into Danny's world - a place where the border between good and evil, innocence and guilt is blurred and confused. But when Danny's demands on Tim become extreme, Tom wonders whether he has crossed a line of his own - and in crossing it, can he ever go back? "Brilliantly crafted. Unflinching yet sensitive, this is a dark story expertly told". (Daily Mail). "A tremendous piece of writing, sad and terrifying. It keeps you reading, exhausted and blurry-eyed, until 2am". (Independent on Sunday). "Resolutely unsensational but disquieting...Barker probes not only the mysteries of 'evil' but society's horrified and incoherent response to it". (Guardian). "Rich, challenging, surprising, breathtaking". (The Times). Pat Barker was born in 1943. Her books include the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy, comprising Regeneration, which has been filmed, The Eye in the Door, which won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and The Ghost Road, which won the Booker Prize. The trilogy featured the Observer's 2012 list of the ten best historical novels. She is also the author of the more recent novels Another World, Border Crossing, Double Vision, Life Class, and Toby's Room. She lives in Durham.
The theme that runs through Barker's superficially very different works - she is best known for her regeneration trilogy, set during and after World War I - is a fascination with the life of the mind, the tricks the mind plays on life and those that life plays on the mind. This latest novel is an intelligent examination of the nature of evil, memory and obsession. While walking along the beach child psychologist Tom rescues a young man, Danny, from drowning. When Tom realises that this is the same man at whose trial he gave significant evidence many years previously in a murder case, he begins to wonder how much their latest encounter is really the coincidence it at first appeared. He agrees to help Danny explore the events leading up to the trial and as he gets increasingly drawn into the young man's psyche, finds himself questioning many of the convictions he had previously held secure. Meanwhile, as one relationship grows in intensity, and the personal and professional intertwine, Tom's wife is slipping away, their marriage seemingly past the point of no return. As the central character, Danny is a masterpiece, a beguiling and convincing combination of victim and aggressor, apparently leaving a trail of broken lives in his wake. His is a character of unresolved opposites, at times deeply manipulative and destructive, at others, charming, innocent, inconsistencies played out brilliantly, in an atmosphere of increasing menace and intensity, in the taut, spare language at which Barker excels. (Kirkus UK)
What the papers say:
"It's her canny feel for the psyche's ambiguous meanderings, more than plot twists, that generates most of the thrills . . . This author creates an atmosphere of menace worthy of a Joyce Carol Oates."—Dan Cryer, "Newsday"
"Barker soars to new heights with this harrowing, contemporary study of fate tainted by the stench of evil."—Robert Allen Papinchak, "USA Today"
"Barker creates a sense of menace worth of Ian McEwan . . . "Border Crossing" is replete with sharp, expressive exchanges, hard poetry, and as many enigmas as implacable truths."—Kerry Field, "The Atlantic Monthly"
"Barker writes with compelling urgency—"Border Crossing" is to be read in one sitting."—Joan Mellen, "The Baltimore Sun"
"Exhilerating moral exploration, and prose as naked and jolting as an unwrapped live wire."—Richard Eder, "The New York Times Book Review"
"Pat barker understands the dynamics of psychic and shutdown as well as any writer living . . . In "Bo
Pat Barker was born in 1943. Her previous novels include the REGENERATION trilogy - REGENERATION, THE EYE IN THE DOOR (winner of the 1993 Guardian Fiction Prize) and THE GHOST ROAD (winner of the 1995 Booker Prize) - and ANOTHER WORLD. She lives inDurham.
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