Toby's Room et plus d'un million d'autres livres sont disponibles pour le Kindle d'Amazon. En savoir plus
  • Tous les prix incluent la TVA.
Il ne reste plus que 6 exemplaire(s) en stock.
Expédié et vendu par Amazon.
Emballage cadeau disponible.
Quantité :1
Toby's Room a été ajouté à votre Panier
+ EUR 2,99 (livraison)
D'occasion: Bon | Détails
État: D'occasion: Bon
Commentaire: We ship books from UK within 1 working day.
Vous l'avez déjà ?
Repliez vers l'arrière Repliez vers l'avant
Ecoutez Lecture en cours... Interrompu   Vous écoutez un extrait de l'édition audio Audible
En savoir plus
Voir cette image

Toby's Room (Anglais) Broché – 7 mars 2013

Voir les 10 formats et éditions Masquer les autres formats et éditions
Prix Amazon Neuf à partir de Occasion à partir de
Format Kindle
"Veuillez réessayer"
"Veuillez réessayer"
EUR 14,32 EUR 0,98
"Veuillez réessayer"
EUR 11,73
EUR 5,63 EUR 0,27

Offres spéciales et liens associés

Produits fréquemment achetés ensemble

Toby's Room + Life Class
Prix pour les deux : EUR 20,17

Acheter les articles sélectionnés ensemble

Descriptions du produit



Elinor arrived home at four o’clock on Friday and went straight to her room. She hung the red dress on the wardrobe door, glancing at it from time to time as she brushed her hair. That neckline seemed to be getting lower by the minute. In the end her nerve failed her. She hunted out her pink dress, the one she used to wear for dancing classes at school, put it on, and stood in front of the cheval mirror. She turned her head from side to side, her hands smoothing down the creases that had gathered round the waist. Oh dear. No, no, she couldn’t do it, not this time, not ever again. She wriggled out of it and threw it to the back of the wardrobe. Out of the window would have been more satisfying, but her father and brother-in-law were sitting on the terrace. She pulled the red dress over her head, tugged the neckline up as far as it would go, and went reluctantly downstairs.

Father met her in the hall and hugged her as if he hadn’t seen her for a year. Outside the living room, she hesitated, but there was no point wearing a red dress and then creeping along the skirting boards like a mouse, so she flung the door open and swept in. She kissed Rachel, waved at Rachel’s husband, Tim, who was at the far side of the room talking to her mother, and then looked around for Toby, but he wasn’t there. Perhaps he wasn’t coming after all, though he’d said he would. The prospect of his absence darkened the whole evening; she wasn’t sure she could face it on her own. But then, a few minutes later, he came in, apologizing profusely, damp hair sticking to his forehead. He must’ve been for a swim. She wished she’d known; she’d have gone with him. Not much hope of talking to him now; Mother had already beckoned him to her side.

Rachel was asking Elinor question after question about her life in London, who she met, who she went out with, did she have any particular friends? Elinor said as little as possible, looking for an excuse to get away. It was supplied by her mother, who appeared at her side and hissed, “Elinor, go upstairs at once and take that ridiculous dress off.”

At that moment the gong sounded. Elinor spread her hands, all injured innocence, though underneath she felt hurt and humiliated. Yet again, she was being treated like a child.

Father came in at the last minute just as they were sitting down. She wondered at the curious mixture of poking and prying and secrecy that ruled their lives. Mother and Father saw very little of each other. She needed country air for the sake of her health; he lived at his club because it was such a convenient walking distance from the hospital, where he often had to be available late at night. Was that the reason for their weeklong separation? She doubted it. Once, crossing Tottenham Court Road, she’d seen her father with a young woman, younger even than Rachel. They’d just come out of a restaurant. The girl had stood, holding her wrap tightly round her thin shoulders, while Father flagged down a cab and helped her into it, and then they were whirled away into the stream of traffic. Elinor had stood and watched, open-mouthed. Father hadn’t seen her; she was sure of that. She’d never mentioned that incident to anyone, not even to Toby, though she and Toby were the only members of the family who kept no secrets from each other.

She sat in virtual silence for the first half of the meal—sulking, her mother would have said—though Tim did his clumsy best to tease her out of it. Did she have a young man yet? Was all this moodiness because she was in love?

“There’s no time for anything like that,” Elinor said, crisply. “They work us too hard.”

“Well, you know what they say, don’t you? All work and no play . . . ?” He turned to Toby. “Have you seen her with anybody?”

“Not yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.”

Toby’s joining in the teasing, however reluctantly, was all it took to chafe Elinor’s irritation into fury.

“Well, if you must know I have met somebody.” She plucked a name from the air. “Kit Neville.”

This was not true: she’d hardly spoken to Kit Neville. He was merely the loudest, the most self-confident, the most opinionated, and, in many ways, the most obnoxious male student in her year, and therefore the person she thought of first.

“What does he do?” Mother asked. Predictably.

“He’s a student.”

“What sort of student?”

“Art. What else would he be doing at the Slade?”

“Have you met his family?”

“Now why on earth would I want to do that?”

“Because that’s what people do when—”

“When they’re about to get engaged? Well, I’m not. We’re just friends. Very good friends, but . . . friends.”

“You need to be careful, Elinor,” Rachel said. “Living in London on your own. You don’t want to get a reputation . . .”

“I do want to get a reputation, as it happens. I want to get a reputation as a painter.”

“You know what I mean.”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake.”

“Elinor,” her father said. “That’s enough.”

So even Father was turning against her. The last mouthful of cheese and biscuit sticking in her dry throat, Elinor followed her mother and Rachel out of the dining room. They sat over a pot of coffee that nobody wanted, staring at their reflections in the black windows that overlooked the airless terrace. The windows couldn’t be opened because of moths. Rachel had a horror of moths.

“So who is this Mr. Neville?” Mother asked.

“Nobody, he’s in my year, that’s all.”

“I thought you said classes weren’t mixed?”

“Some are, some aren’t.” She could barely speak for exasperation; she’d brought this on herself. “Look, it’s not as if we’re going out . . .”

“So why mention him?” Rachel’s voice was slurry with tiredness. Tendrils of damp hair stuck to her forehead; she’d eaten scarcely anything. She yawned and stretched her ankles out in front of her. “Look at them. Puddings.” She dug her fingers into the swollen flesh as if she hated it.

“You must be worn out in this heat,” Mother said. “Why don’t you put your feet up?”

Feet up in the drawing room? Unheard of. But then Elinor intercepted a glance between the two women, and understood. She wondered when she was going to be told. What a family they were for not speaking. She wanted to jump on the table and shout out every miserable little secret they possessed, though, apart from the breakdown of her parents’ marriage, she couldn’t have said what the secrets were. But there was something: a shadow underneath the water. Swim too close and you’d cut your feet. A childhood memory surfaced. On holiday somewhere, she’d cut her foot on a submerged rock; she’d felt no pain, only the shock of seeing her blood smoking into the water. Toby had taken off his shirt and wrapped it round her foot, then helped her back to the promenade. She remembered his pink fingers, wrinkled from the sea, the whorl of hair on the top of his head as he bent down to examine the cut.

Why couldn’t they leave her alone? All this nonsense about young men . . . It was just another way of drilling it into you that the real business of a girl’s life was to find a husband. Painting was, at best, an accomplishment; at worst, a waste of time. She was trying to hold on to her anger, but she’d suppressed it so long it was threatening to dissipate into depression. As it so often did. Why hadn’t Toby spoken up for her? Instead of just sitting there, fiddling with his knife and fork.

She was thoroughly fed up. As soon as possible after the men joined them, she excused herself, saying she needed an early night.

As she closed the door behind her, she heard Father ask, “What’s the matter with her?”

“Oh, you know,” Mother said. “Girls.”

Meaning? Nothing that made her feel better about herself, or them.

Next morning after breakfast Toby announced that he was going to walk to the old mill.

“In this heat?” Mother said.

“It’s not too bad. Anyway, it’ll be cooler by the river.”

Elinor followed him into the hall. “Do you mind if I come?”

“It’s a long way.”

“Toby, I walk all over London.”

“Don’t let Rachel hear you say that. Rep-u-tation!”

They arranged to meet on the terrace. Soon Elinor was following her brother across the meadow, feeling the silken caress of long grasses against her bare arms and the occasional cool shock of cuckoo spit.

“You know this chap you were talking about last night . . . ?”

“Oh, don’t you start.”

“I was only asking.”

“I only mentioned him because I’m sick of being teased. I just wanted to get Tim off my back. Instead of which, I got Mother onto it.”

“And Rachel.”

“She’s worse than Mother.”

“She’s jealous, that’s all. She settled down a bit too early and . . . Well, she didn’t exactly get a bargain, did she?”

“You don’t like Tim, do you?”

“He’s harmless. I just don’t think she’s very happy.” He turned to face her. “You won’t make that mistake, will you?”

“Marrying Tim? Shouldn’t think so.”

“No-o. Settling down too early.”

“I don’t intend to ‘settle down’ at all.”

She hoped that was the end of the subject, but a minute later Toby said, “All the same, there has to be a reason you mentioned him—I mean, him, rather than somebody else.”

“He’s perfectly obnoxious, that’s why. He was just the first person who came to mind.”

Once they reached the river path, there was some shade at last, though the flashing of sunlight through the leaves and branches was oddly disorientating, and more than once she tripped over a root or jarred herself stepping on air.

“Be easier coming back,” Toby said. “We won’t have the sun in our eyes.”

She didn’t want to go on talking. She was content to let images rise and fall in her mind: her lodgings in London, the Antiques Room at the Slade, the friends she was starting to make, the first few spindly shoots of independence, though it all seemed a little unreal here, in this thick heat, with dusty leaves grazing the side of her face and swarms of insects making a constant humming in the green shade.

She was walking along, hardly aware of her surroundings, when a sudden fierce buzzing broke into her trance. Toby caught her arm. Bluebottles, gleaming sapphire and emerald, were glued to a heap of droppings in the center of the path. A few stragglers zoomed drunkenly towards her, fastening on her eyes and lips. She spat, batting them away.

“Here, this way,” Toby said. He was holding a branch for her so she could edge past the seething mass.

“Fox?” she asked, meaning the droppings.

“Badger, I think. There’s a sett up there.”

She peered through the trees, but couldn’t see it.

“Do you remember we had a den here once?” he said.

She remembered the den: a small, dark, smelly place under some rhododendron bushes. Tiny black insects crawled over your skin and fell into your hair. “I don’t think it was here.”

“It was. You could just hear the weir.”

She listened, and sure enough, between the trees, barely audible, came the sound of rushing water.

“You’re right, I remember now. I thought it was a bit farther on.”

She thought he might want to go there, he lingered so long, but then he turned and walked on.

The river was flowing faster now, picking up leaves and twigs and tiny, struggling insects and whirling them away, and the trees were beginning to thin out. More and more light reached the path until, at last, they came out into an open field that sloped gently down towards the weir. A disused mill—the target of their walk—stood at the water’s edge, though it was many years since its wheel had turned.

This had been the forbidden place of their childhood. They were not to go in there, Mother would say. The floorboards were rotten, the ceilings liable to collapse at any minute . . .

“And don’t go near the water,” she’d call after them, in a last desperate attempt to keep them safe, as they walked away from her down the drive. “We won’t,” they’d chorus. “Promise,” Toby would add, for good measure, and then they would glance sideways at each other, red-faced from trying not to giggle.

Now, Elinor thought, they probably wouldn’t bother going in, but Toby went straight to the side window, prised the boards apart, and hoisted himself over the sill. After a second’s hesitation Elinor followed.

Blindness, after the blaze of sunlight. Then, gradually, things became clear: old beams, cobwebs, tracks of children’s footprints on the dusty floor. Their own footprints? No, of course not, couldn’t be, not after all these years. Other children came here now. She put her foot next to one of the prints, marveling at the difference in size. Toby, meanwhile, was expressing amazement at having to duck to avoid the beams.

Because this place had been the scene of so many forbidden adventures, an air of excitement still clung to it, in spite of the dingy surroundings. She went across to the window and peered out through a hole in the wall. “I wonder what it was like to work here.”

Toby came across and stood beside her. “Pretty good hell, I should think. Noise and dust.”

He was right, of course; when the wheel turned the whole place must have shook. She turned to him. “What do you think—?”

He grabbed her arms and pulled her towards him. Crushed against his chest, hardly able to breathe, she laughed and struggled, taking this for the start of some childish game, but then his lips fastened onto hers with a groping hunger that shocked her into stillness. His tongue thrust between her lips, a strong, muscular presence. She felt his chin rough against her cheek, the breadth of his chest and shoulders, not that round, androgynous, childish softness that had sometimes made them seem like two halves of a single person. She started to struggle again, really struggle, but his hand came up and cupped her breast and she felt herself softening, flowing towards him, as if something hard and impacted in the pit of her stomach had begun to melt.

And then, abruptly, he pushed her away.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Sorry, sorry . . .”

She couldn’t speak. How was it possible that anybody, in a single moment, could stumble into a chasm so deep there was no getting out of it?

“Look, you go back,” he said. “I’ll come home later.”

Automatically, she turned to go, but then remembered the river and turned back.

“No, go on, I’ll be all right,” he said.

“They’ll wonder what’s happened if I show up on my own.” --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

“Unforgettable. . . . Toby’s Room takes large risks . . . and it succeeds brilliantly.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Breathtakingly good. . . . Barker has written extensively about the Great War . . . yet she’s still coming at it in fresh, powerful ways. This is a writer truly at the height of her powers, and it’s a dizzying height indeed.” —The Toronto Star

“Barker has shown again that she is not only a fine chronicler of war but of human nature.” —The Independent (London)
“Haunting and complicated sibling love is at the heart of [this] novel. . . . The precision of Ms. Barker’s writing shows her again to be one of the finest chroniclers of . . . the First World War.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Gripping and majestic.” —The Daily Beast

Toby’s Room takes large risks. It’s dark, painful and indelibly grotesque, yet it’s also tender. It strains against its own narrative control to create, in the midst of ordinary life, a kind of deformed reality—precisely to illustrate how everything we call ‘ordinary’ is disfigured by war. And it succeeds brilliantly.” —The New York Times Book Review

Toby’s Room is the most emotionally powerful and aesthetically daring of her searing about the First World War and British culture.” —The Times Literary Supplement (London)
“An enthralling and uplifting read. Ms. Barker’s fans will hope that, as with the Regeneration trilogy, a third installment is to follow.” —The Economist

“Barker is peerless at evoking the atmosphere of the trenches and of wartime London.” —The Washington Post

“Unsparing and rigorous. . . . For Barker, the wounded faces of the soldier-victims are realities, and also emblems of what must never be forgotten or evaded about war, and must continue—in her plain, steady, compelling voice—to be turned into art.” —The Guardian (London)

“Barker’s writing is subtle and nuanced, even as it is unsentimental in showing the physical and emotional effects of the war. Her mixture of sensitivity and bluntness made her Regeneration trilogy of the 1990s a remarkable work.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“This is a powerful book. . . . Barker triumphs.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Excellent. . . . Truly gripping. . . . Miss Barker’s prose shines. . . . Will there be a sequel? I hope so.” —Corinna Lothar, The Washington Times

“No one evokes England in all its stiff-upper-lip gritty wartime privation like Barker. She is . . . determined to render an honest portrayal of war. She will not allow us to sweep it out of sight.” —The Miami Herald

“Difficult to put down. . . . Barker is so deft handling history, from battlefield scenes to surgery in Queen's Hospital, that she has few peers.” —The Plain Dealer

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 272 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin (7 février 2013)
  • Collection : HH FIC PB
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0141042206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141042206
  • Dimensions du produit: 12,9 x 2 x 19,7 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 92.446 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
  •  Souhaitez-vous compléter ou améliorer les informations sur ce produit ? Ou faire modifier les images?

En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Découvrez des livres, informez-vous sur les écrivains, lisez des blogs d'auteurs et bien plus encore.

Quels sont les autres articles que les clients achètent après avoir regardé cet article?

Commentaires en ligne

3.0 étoiles sur 5
5 étoiles
4 étoiles
3 étoiles
2 étoiles
1 étoiles
Voir le commentaire client
Partagez votre opinion avec les autres clients

Commentaires client les plus utiles

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par lectrice anglophone le 31 mars 2014
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Ceux qui, comme moi, s'intéressent à la Première Guerre Mondiale trouveront ici des aspects de cet horrible conflit qui méritent une profonde et respectueuse réflexion . Pat Barker traite dans ce roman la médecine du front et surtout la chirurgie réparatrice développée a l'hôpital de Sidcup près de Londres. J'ai lu récemment un autre roman "My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You" où on trouve comme ici le chirurgien Gillies et l'artiste Henry Tonks qui travaillait avec lui avant et après les opérations (oui, car il en fallait souvent plusieurs) pour rendre "humains" les visages de ces "gueules cassées" britanniques. Je trouve que ces deux romans sont complémentaires .
"Toby's Room" est la suite d'un autre roman "Life Class" mais on peut le lire indépendamment.
Pat Barker est l'auteur de la remarquable trilogie "Regeneration" aussi sur la Première Guerre Mondiale mais ici on n'a pas la même puissance et le même impact émotionnel. Elle présente des thèmes qui semblent importants ( par exemple, une histoire de jumeaux) mais qui ne sont pas menés à leur terme. Et on n'a pas assez d'éléments sur Toby, un médecin du front "porté disparu"; l'auteur voulait peut-être qu'il reste comme une sorte d'ombre mais pour que l'émotion joue pleinement j'aurais voulu sentir plus sa présence.
"Toby's Room" est un roman respectable mais qui reste nettement moins abouti que "Regeneration".
1 commentaire Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
Merci pour votre commentaire. Si ce commentaire est inapproprié, dites-le nous.
Désolé, nous n'avons pas réussi à enregistrer votre vote. Veuillez réessayer

Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 76 commentaires
21 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The secrets of home, exposed in wartime 7 octobre 2012
Par Jill Meyer - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Pat Barker's new WW1 novel, "Toby's Room", is a book of secrets. Some are so nuanced that you don't realise they are secrets - or even facts - til they're exposed. That's what a good writer - and Pat Barker is a remarkable one - does to advance both the storyline and the characters' lives.

"Toby's Room" begins in 1912 and ends in 1917. The first part - the shorter part - introduces the reader to the Brooke family - parents who are estranged both physically and emotionally. Three children, Rachel is the oldest and is married, and the two younger, Toby and Elinor are, respectively, a medical student and an art student, and live in London. Elinor Brooke was featured in an earlier Barker book - "Life Class" - which I haven't read, along with two other main characters in this book, Kit Neville and Paul Tarrant. The new book appears to be a sequel of sorts, though when I read the description of "Life Class", both seem to present the same WW1 battle scenes. Maybe like Jane Gardam's tandem duo, "Old Filth" and "The Man with the Wooden Hat", the same characters appear in both Barker's books, telling the story from different angles.

Toby Brooke - the medical student in 1912 - is the center of that part of the story. Elinor and Toby were raised almost as twins and stay extremely close as they age. She lives near him in London while a student at the real Slade School of Fine Art, but certain feelings intrude that are destructive to both. By 1917, Toby, Kit, and Paul are off to France to fight. Toby is a front-line doctor and the other two are in auxiliary battle roles.

Toby disappears on the battlefield - literally blown up with no remains - and the Brooke family is devastated. Elinor realises she must know what happened to Toby in the days leading up to his death. Knowing that Kit Neville had served with Toby, she tracks him down in an English hospital for the facially wounded. At the hospital, she meets her old teacher from Slade - Henry Tonks - by then a noted illustrator of the work of Dr Harold Gillies. Gillies, like Tonks, was a real doctor, and is known as the "father of plastic surgery". Elinor Brooke goes to work with Tonks and Gillies as a medical illustrator.

And then secrets start coming out. Secrets long hidden from both within the Brooke family and in their relationships with others outside it. Most are devastating, but learning them can help Elinor and her friends move on with their lives, knowing that what happened on the battlefield have impacted them so profoundly.

Pat Barker is a master writer. Her combining real and fictional characters makes this book even more interesting than it might have been had she simply been writing fiction. In a way, this book can be compared to John Boyle's "The Absolutist" in tone and style.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
"But there was something: a shadow beneath the water." 19 octobre 2012
Par H. F. Corbin - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I understand that you cannot judge a book by its cover. On the other hand, Joel Spector's pastel rendering of Toby on the dust jacket of Booker Prize winner Pat Barker's new novel TOBY'S ROOM is precisely the way the writer portrays him, a stroke of genius on the part of the artist, and important since much of the book has to do with artists, both those who draw the war wounded and the character Elinor Brooke who paints portraits of her brother Toby Brooke. This is another of those novels that you cannot say a lot about the plot without spoiling the book for future readers. Is this a characteristic of Booker Prize winners I ask. Julian Barnes (A SENSE OF AN ENDING), Ian McEwan (SWEET TOOTH), and John Banville (ANCIENT LIGHT), three previous winners, are other examples. While the characters certainly are complex and well-developed--- it is intriguing to watch them change as the narrative progresses--this novel is ultimately plot driven, beginning in 1912 and ending in 1917 and is about the effects of the Great War on several characters, both those who stayed at home and those who went to war. Elinor and Toby are members of a British family with secrets. "What a family they were for not speaking. . . Apart from the breakdown of her parents' marriage, she [Elinor] couldn't have said what the secrets were. But there was something: a shadow underneath the water." (p. 6). Soon Elinor has her own deep dark secrets to keep. Ultimately she will discover many more secrets in connection with her beloved brother Toby. We learn from the dust cover blurb that he will not return from World War I-- so I am not revealing the ending of the novel-- but Elinor and the other members of her family of course, as would all families in that predicament, want to know the details of his death. The ending continues to haunt me, however, since I am not convinced that the character Kit Neville is completely truthful in his account of what happened to Toby.

Certainly no Jane Austen, Ms. Barker writes as effectively of the horrors of war and its effect on both men and women as any male writer I can think of. Actually, although this novel is in no way derivative, I was reminded of another great war novel as I read it, Ernest Hemingway's A FAREWELL TO ARMS. Her descriptions of both the battles and the scenes in the hospitals as well as the men who died or were wounded are quite amazing-- the smells, the visual images. One wounded soldier's face is a "red ruin." He is also described as the Elephant Man, a "Minotaur, a feature that was both more and less than a man."

Ms. Barker's themes are universal: both the secrets and conflicts within families, the heroism and courage that many demonstrate in battle, what war does to families, what happens to families when they lose sons [or daughters in these times] to a war. In a particularly poignant scene, the character Paul, whose limp from a wound Ms. Barker paints so vividly that you can actually see him stumbling, meets a local doctor whose "boy had been in France, he said. He's always hoped Ian would take over the practice, but now this. . . Nothing, he said, as they parted at the door, would ever be the same again." There is also the necessity that a lot of people have to believe that they have gotten something good from a war. Sound familiar? Additionally we see discrimination against perfectly innocent people in time of war because of their nationality. Elinor's best friend Catherine, who is living in London, is ostracised because she is German. Finally Ms. Barker writes of love in all its different manifestations.

This writer's language is always appropriate, often blunt and sometimes beautiful: Here is Ms. Barker's description of a river: "The water underneath the nearest arch broke into V-shaped ripples as a boat passed through. "There were flecks of crimson on the surface of the river, where the setting sun had briefly managed to free itself from a bank of cloud, but they were fading even as he [the character Paul] watched." Then she goes about breaking your heart when Paul finds Toby's books and photographs when he, on a visit to the Brooke family home, is preparing for bed in Toby's room. "That little boy was suddenly a powerful presence in the room. . . Paul could almost believe he heard a faint echo of the explosion that had blown this laughing boy into unidentifiable gobs of flesh. The poignancy of a young life cut short. He hadn't known Toby, but at this moment he could have cried for him: the small boy who's located himself so precisely in the world, and now was nowhere."

A first-class novel.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Pat Barker does it again 21 octobre 2012
Par J. Hurd - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I have read all of Pat Barker's novels about WW I and each of them grabs me from some place where empathy begins and moves on to anquish. The characters endure the worst of war and its aftermath and bring the reader along for a clear view. Becoming reaquainted with characters from earlier books helps to establish a longer view of the affect warfare has on everyone well into their lives.

Toby's Room draws us back again to WW I when the war became too awful to comprehend, picking up where the artists in Still Life were left in shock at how it had dealt with their lives. Elinor, who tried to be above the war and refused to look it in the eye, is now face to face with the death of her brother and the terrible physical injuries to her friends. I am a nature illustrator so I understand the place of medical illustration in chronicalling the facial injuries in that time when photography was less useful. Elinor has taken on this role and it has to change her. Paul and Kit, both injured in the fighting, become "war artists" who are not allowed to depict death. These people are not perfect, but they try to behave as well as they can, sometimes betrayed by the nature of their flaws. We want them to find peace in compassion for one another even if understanding is elusive.

These books are so beautifully written, from the way they expose us to the inner lives of the people we send to do awful things, to the honest, but not graphic, look at the awful things they have done. They do not spare the feelings of those of us who didn't have to go, but want to turn away when we are confronted with the returning human wrecks we honor. Can't recommend this book and its precursors, more highly.
11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A bit disappointing 14 septembre 2012
Par Gervase T. M. Shorter - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I really like Pat Barker's books. In the magnificent Regeneration Trilogy she created her own style of historical fiction in which invented and real life characters interact to produce a vivid, altogether believable picture of what living through WWI must have been like. And in `Toby's Room' she writes as well as ever, capturing atmosphere, bringing characters to life, inventing absolutely credible dialogue.
However, fiction is story telling, an art with its own rules and to my mind Pat Barker breaks one of them in `Toby's Room'. Someone (Tchekhov maybe) said that if, in Act I, a character mentions that the old blunderbuss hanging on the wall is always kept loaded the audience will know that in Act III someone is going to be shot dead with it. That mention in Act I is there for a purpose: if the audience isn't put on prior notice that the blunderbuss is loaded its being fired in the last act will lack plausibility and I am afraid it is something rather like this that spoils `Toby's Room'. I won't reveal how the book ends but only say that with no hints or suspicions earlier in the book, the final dénouement shines a new light on one of the main characters that is too unexpected to be plausible. At any rate as far as this reader is concerned.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Toby's Room 27 novembre 2012
Par Lila Gustavus - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
There can never be enough books about WWI experience. Not for me, at least. I will never know enough. But with each, well-written story I learn more. And Toby's Room is exceptionally well-written with crisp simplicity that cuts to the bone. This was my first experience with Ms. Parker's (a Booker Prize winner) writing and it left me in awe of how the lack of flowery, ornate writing opens the door to clarity.This clarity is essential to make the human tragedy that continued long after the war was over, real to the contemporary reader (we all know it was real, but knowing and actually feeling are two different experiences).

Even though Toby's Room is a sequel to Life Class, it's also a stand-alone novel. I read it without having a clue it was a sequel and had no issues with being confused about characters or previous story-lines that you sometimes get dropped right in the middle of when starting with book two in a series. I was however quite shocked with the strong beginning, wondering whether I really was reading what I thought I was. I loved how Pat Barker so unassumingly led me from a straight path on to a hurl down a sharp hill in the beginning chapters and then ended the story in the same, unexpected manner - one of the final scenes, the story of Neville's about what happened with Toby truly took my breath away and I found myself wiping tears off my cheeks in disbelief. My strong emotions however were not due to some shocking, suspend-your-disbelief-now event (it was something rather quite believable) but to the author's mastery of writing. It felt like she set a trap for me with her calming, down to earth, simple story-telling just to deliver a heartbreaking blow.

The whole book is sad, of course. I mean, how can it not be? It's about the worst coming-of-age experience possible. You enter your late adolescence full of dreams, ideas, crazy fooling around and then it all just stops, it's taken away because your guy friends, fiancees, boyfriends have to go and fight and die, or come home terribly disfigured, most likely with wounds to their bodies, souls and spirits that will never heal. And then you start to think those horrible but inevitable thoughts that maybe dying on the war front would have been better. That's what Toby's Room is and it's beautiful in the sorrow of the bright, talented people who were denied a chance. Life would never, could never, be back to what it was supposed to be. Life was now this:

"It seemed, looking back, that he's grown around the loss, that it [grief] had become part of him, as trees will sometimes incorporate an obstruction, so they end up living, but deformed." (loc.1888-90, Kindle ed.)

But then, the most surprising thing was to find out that despite the tragedy, the talent prevailed and was used in one of the most amazing ways and also, again, heartbreaking ways: to help the doctors with reconstructive surgeries performed on the surviving soldiers, painting those wounded before and after surgeries. If you're interested (and you should be), please see some of those paintings by Henry Tonks (who was also featured in Toby's Room) at Gillies Archives.
Ces commentaires ont-ils été utiles ? Dites-le-nous


Souhaitez-vous compléter ou améliorer les informations sur ce produit ? Ou faire modifier les images?