Toby's Room by Pat Barker

Toby's Room

Pat Barker

I found this a very moving account of the relationship between Elinor and her brother Toby. Her reactions to his death and her search for the truth about it are gripping and compelling. But be warned - this is also a truly horrific and shocking portrait of the dreadful facial injuries suffered by soldiers of the First World War, and the heroic efforts to repair them and help these terribly damaged men to live.

Extract

The other girls were all waiting outside the lecture theatre. I must say my heart sank when I saw them - scrubbed faces, scraped-back hair, sensible shoes and suits. The jackets were cut exactly like men's and the skirts swept the floor - so you got the worst of both worlds. Hats, of course. One of two of them were actually wearing ties. I've never seen that on a young woman before. Everybody had a good look at my hair. I stared back at them. At least my hair's clean.

Parallels
  • My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young
  • Life Class by Pat Barker
  • Regeneration by Pat Barker